Five questions to ask your employees right now

Laura-Jane Booker
Laura-Jane Booker | March 30, 2020
Employee Experience
Five questions to ask your employees right now

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for every working person in the world. Leaders need to check in with their people regularly during this time, so what questions should they be asking?

We've been working with our customers to come up with a series of quick check-in questions. They're designed to make sure working people feel supported right now, regardless of their circumstance. And the answers should help leaders fine tune their COVID-19 plans.

We’re sharing those questions with anyone who needs them - see below. And we welcome any feedback or suggestions.

These questions focus on the different things that might affect people during this period of disruption and isolation - including resourcing, support, and expectations. There are also different question sets for remote workers, and for those who are continuing to work as before.

What's the best way to ask these questions?

Try to use your existing communication tools. Feedback is best handled as a conversation, so ideally choose a tool that lets people respond directly to someone (eg their manager) with their answers.

If you have an open culture, you might try posting questions in group channels with a collaborative tool like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Facebook Workplace. If you know your people aren't likely to be comfortable replying in a group setting, then stick to one-on-one messages or options like Google Forms, or Survey Monkey. Regardless of approach: quickly sharing the common themes with your employees is more important than it’s ever been.

How should you format questions?

At Joyous we always lead with a rated question where a person can select a 0-10 rating on a spectrum of 0 - Completely Disagree to 10 - Completely Agree. We then follow that up with a conversation starter which encourages open text feedback. Each question below we suggest asking as a rated question, and then give the follow-up as an open feedback question.

Different survey options in google forms, slack and Joyous

Some examples of how you can ask your people these questions:
Slack: Ask people to 'react' to the question posted with number emoji from 0 - 10, then put the follow-up question below.
Google Forms: Setup the initial questions as linear scale, and then the follow-up as an open text question.
Joyous: We present the first question as a number rating only, then follow-up with a chat-like conversation.

General questions for all your people

Q1: I'm receiving regular communications from (COMPANY NAME) about the COVID-19 pandemic
Follow-up: Any questions about how (COMPANY NAME) is dealing with the pandemic?

Q2: I understand what my work situation looks like for the upcoming weeks
Follow-up: Do you have any questions about your specific situation?

Q3: I have the communication tools I need to stay in touch with co-workers
Follow-up: Is there anything limiting your ability to communicate with co-workers?

Q4: I feel comfortable with the way (COMPANY NAME) is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
Follow-up: Do you have any concerns about how (COMPANY NAME) is responding to the pandemic?

Q5: I feel well supported despite these unsettling times
Follow-up: Is there anything we can do to help you feel more supported?

Questions specifically for people working remotely:

It's important to gauge whether employees have all the things they need in order to work remotely. This extends to physical items (e.g. chairs, screens, desks etc) and access to systems, software, and information. This also extends to expectations. Do your employees have a clear understanding of their new working situation and the expectations that come with it?

Q1: I have the essentials I need to work remotely (tools, technology, equipment, software, systems, information)
Follow-up: Is there anything that would help you do your job better?

Q2: I'm able to work flexibly to accommodate my home life needs
Follow-up: What's your ideal way of working while you work remotely?

Q3: I know what is expected of me while I work remotely
Follow-up: Do you have any questions about your work expectations?

Q4: I feel supported and empowered to work remotely
Follow-up: Is there anything you need to help you work successfully?

Q5: My home situation allows me to work the way I want to
Follow-up: Is there anything at home that's limiting your ability to work successfully?

Questions specifically for people continuing to work as normal:

These people are more likely to be experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety so it's very important to check in on them and gauge how they are coping.

Q1: I have the tools and resources I need to continue working during the lockdown
Follow-up: Is there anything that would help you do your job better?

Q2: I feel safe to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic
Follow-up: Any concerns you would like to raise about your safety or ability to work?

Q3: I understand the precautions I need to be taking at work to keep myself and others safe
Follow-up: Do you have any questions about the new precautions?

Q4: I've been given clear guidelines around my expected workload for the coming weeks
Follow-up: Do you have any questions or concerns about your workload?

Q5: I've been given clear objectives and expectations for the upcoming weeks
Follow-up: Any questions about your objectives and expectations over the coming weeks?

Q6: I feel well supported while I work
Follow-up: Is there anything we can do to help you feel more supported?

Questions specifically for those people who are unable to work at the moment:

The two main concerns for employees who are unable to continue working are their financial compensation and job security. It's important each employee knows where they stand in terms of future employment with your company and their rights to financial compensation for this period. Although they are not working, it's also important to check in with each employee to see how they are coping. Below are some questions you can ask.

Q1: I'm receiving regular communications from (COMPANY NAME) about the COVID-19 pandemic
Follow-up: Any questions about how (COMPANY NAME) is dealing with the pandemic?

Q2: I understand how I'll be financially compensated during the coming weeks
Follow-up: Any questions about your financial compensation?

Q3: I've been assured of my future employment with (COMPANY NAME)
Follow-up: Do you have any questions about your future employment with the company?

Q4: I have the communication tools I need to stay in touch with co-workers
Follow-up: Is there anything limiting your ability to communicate with co-workers?

Q5: I feel well supported despite these unsettling times
Follow-up: Is there anything we can do to help you feel more supported?

Ongoing check-ins:

It's always a good idea to check in regularly with your people, and even more important when things are unsettled.

We're working on additional sets of questions with our customers to send out over the next few weeks, and we’ll share those with you too.

If you'd like to be notified when we release additional question sets, you can enter your email below: