Career Development

12 Motivation Questions To Ask Employees

February 22, 2021

When employees feel motivated in their roles, they're more likely to produce quality work and commit to a company long-term. You can gain valuable feedback from employees regarding whether they feel happy in their positions by asking motivation questions through surveys or one-on-one meetings. Review the answers to these questions to better understand how you can help employees feel more motivated and engaged at work.

In this article, we explain why it's important to ask your employees motivation questions and provide examples of possible questions to present to your team members.

Why is it important to provide motivation questions for employees?

It's important to ask employees questions regarding their motivation because motivation drives them to be productive and successful in their roles. Employees who feel excited and motivated to work at the company and in their position often deliver quality work, stay with the company long-term and contribute valuable ideas that increase the company's performance.

Asking team members questions about what impacts their workplace motivations helps you gain a better understanding of how you can make them feel more supported, encouraged and engaged, so they'll continue to feel driven to contribute valuable work. These questions also allow employees and managers to foster healthy, communicative relationships that make the employee feel more comfortable and heard at the company.

You can gain this insight by holding meetings and directly asking employees these motivation questions, or you can send out a survey that gains their opinions on what you're doing correctly and how you can better manage and motivate them as their supervisor.

Related: How To Answer “What Motivates You?” (With Examples)

Sample motivation questions to ask employees

When building your list of motivation questions to ask employees, think about certain elements within their role or in the company that may impact their motivation to deliver quality assignments. These can be factors like company culture, clarity in their role and responsibilities or guidance from you or other possible supervisors. Sample motivation questions to consider asking your employees include:

1. Are there any outside factors that impact your motivation or ability to complete your work by given deadlines?

This question allows you to better understand which external factors like family, friends, health or other personal challenges may keep employees from performing effectively in their role. This is a great chance for you to demonstrate your willingness to provide solutions to any outside issues they're having that affect their performance. You can use this question to create flexible schedules or adjustments to better work around their personal lives.

For instance, if an employee is having problems finding after-school care for their children and believes this is affecting their ability to focus on tasks, you can suggest letting them work from home after picking up their child or allowing them to leave work early to pick up their kids if they come into work earlier that day. Providing solutions to these problems proves you care about their work-life balance and helps them focus on tasks without feeling overwhelmed about outside obstacles.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Work-Life Balance

2. What makes you excited to work at this company and complete your tasks?

Knowing why employees enjoy working at your company tells you what you're doing right and what you should continue doing. If there are certain tasks they enjoy completing, try to assign them more similar work items. Participating in responsibilities they're excited about often makes your employees put more effort into them and deliver an impressive final product. They'll also perform these tasks more effectively if they know you'll continue assigning work items they enjoy if they consistently do well.

3. What improvements would you make about this company or your role?

This question gives your employees the chance to provide valuable input on your performance as a manager and explain how satisfied they are with their role and the company. Use their answer as a way to guide you on what you've done well to make them feel comfortable in their position and possible ways to make their work environment more enjoyable.

It's best to gain anonymous feedback for this answer so employees can provide honest and constructive criticisms, knowing they won't experience any negative repercussions. You should take their answers as suggestions to become a stronger manager who wants to see their employees succeed. Take action by fixing the problems they mention to show them you listen to and value their feedback.

4. Which company values do you believe align well with your own values?

Most employees feel more motivated to complete workplace tasks if they feel their jobs have purpose and their values align well with the company's. Learn which values your employees relate to the most and continuously uphold them as a manager and encourage your team members to do the same. When employees notice you actively practicing values they care about, this may encourage them to stay with your organization longer.

5. Do any of your responsibilities feel too difficult or time-consuming to complete?

This question is especially important to ask if you see your employees submitting some of their projects past their deadlines. Rather than taking disciplinary action, it's important to ask employees where they're facing the most challenges when completing assignments. This allows you to provide necessary assistance to help employees improve their performance, learn strategies for handling difficult projects and find ways to more efficiently complete more work items.

6. Do you completely understand your role and what's expected of you?

Some employees may deliver lower-quality work because they don't fully understand their duties and what's expected of them in their role. This is why open communication between managers and employees is so important. If employees are more comfortable around you, they'll feel more confident asking you common questions about their job title or certain assignments. Gaining clarity regarding their position and responsibilities can increase employees' confidence when completing work items, which allows them to perform more effectively.

7. What inspires you to be successful in your role every day?

This question helps you gain a greater understanding of what drives your employees to complete their job duties each day. They may express their passion for working on certain tasks, collaborating with their team members or submitting work that they're confident helps others. Find what excites your employees about their role and continuously use it to motivate them further and keep them happily performing on your team.

For example, if an employee answers that positive feedback from their manager drives them to be successful, continue to regularly give them praise and input to help them feel more appreciated in their role.

Related: 14 Short-Term Goals To Improve Your Career Today

8. What do you enjoy the most about our company culture?

Asking your employees questions like this tells them you value their happiness at work and want to continue creating a more enjoyable atmosphere. Maintaining a strong company culture can make employees feel more excited to interact with one another, which often increases collaboration and communication in the workplace.

When employees have a good time at work, they'll feel more motivated to come into the office each day to continuously engage in holiday parties, group projects, company retreats or any other fun activities you have to offer them.

9. Do you feel comfortable speaking your mind at this company?

Employees often feel more motivated to complete their role if they feel confident and comfortable voicing their opinions and ideas. It's important to encourage a positive environment, where employees listen to, praise and encourage each others' ideas.

If you practice this during meetings or brainstorming sessions, you'll typically discover more unique and valuable ideas that can drastically improve the company's performance. Consider giving each of your employees time to speak in each meeting and instruct others to provide positive and constructive feedback on everyone's thoughts and opinions.

10. What are your career goals? Do you believe we're helping you achieve those goals?

Many employees feel more motivated in their position if they're working toward a certain goal. Giving them goals and milestones to pursue and conquer often makes them work harder to complete them. You can more easily create milestones for your team if you understand what their own personal career goals are. This allows you to provide guidance and strategies to help them develop the skills to reach them.

Many employees choose to stay or pursue a role at another company that offers opportunities for advancement, so asking this question tells them that you offer plenty of opportunities for them to advance. Consistently moving up in their role also means employees may stay with your company longer and can eventually accomplish more advanced responsibilities and make bigger-picture decisions in upper-level positions.

Related: Your Guide to Promotion Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

11. Do you feel I support you as a manager?

One goal you should set for these questions with employees is to build a stronger relationship and communication method with your team. This question can tell you how strong your relationship with your employees is and ways you can support and encourage them to reach goals and perform better in their role. Make sure you receive this feedback positively and constructively and take action to help your employees feel more valued and motivated as team members.

Related: The Best Ways To Motivate Your Team

12. What career advice can I give you?

This question positions yourself as a mentor for your employees and tells them you want to see them be successful in their career. Many team members who want to continue working in their field may eventually strive to move up in a higher role similar to yours, so they can benefit from learning your perspective and insight to help them reach similar achievements as you in the future.


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