Are you setting up new hires for success? New employees need to understand how they fit into your company’s big picture and how you will help them with their personal and professional goals. Taking an interest in new hires can have an overwhelmingly positive effect, and you do this by asking employee onboarding questions.
By asking the right questions, you can get a feel for a new hire’s personality. You can also learn about how to motivate them best, their career goals, their values, and who they are as people.
Let’s uncover the questions that will have a huge impact on your employee onboarding program and team.
1. At What Time Of Day Do You Do Your Best Work?
Some of us are early risers, some of us are night owls, and others fall somewhere in between. Knowing when your staff works best can help you manage your team.
You’ll probably want to encourage your team to rope those times off in their calendar to make sure they protect that time from meetings with managers or team members.
If you work in a retail or service industry, learning the answer to this question can help you match employees to the right shift (and you can notify them if an extra shift becomes available.)
2. How Do You Learn Best?
There are many potential learning styles like visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic learning. It’s essential to recognize how your team members learn to boost productivity and provide proper training. Once you know their learning style, you can make the most of their first 90 days with your organization.
3. What Can I Do To Bring Out Your Best Work?
This open-ended question can help you determine if your team member lacks something that may help their motivation, productivity, or creativity. For example, some team members may work better when offered occasional praise, while others work best through constructive criticism or opportunities to move up in their careers. Finding out what motivates your employees early can solve several workplace issues because we all want different types of recognition.
4. Is Your Workload Comfortable?
Overworked staff members can become unhappy with their position and may even seek work elsewhere. Quitting a job that is a poor fit within the first few months is extremely common, so we have to make sure that we are keeping new hires engaged and comfortable. Workloads are commonly shared unfairly amongst a team, especially if one team member consistently picks up the slack. Knowing whether your employee is comfortable with their workload can help you prevent them from becoming burnt out.
5. What Is One Thing I Can Do This Week That Will Help You Adjust To The Company?
It’s not always easy being a new hire. New employees have to learn their schedules and advance their skills while getting to know their team and management. This new hire question can help you gauge your new employee’s comfort and get suggestions that may help them feel welcome at the company.
6. How Do You Prefer To Receive Communications?
Depending on your company and your employee’s position, you may have several communication methods at your disposal, including face-to-face conversations, Slack, email, and Asana. This employee onboarding question helps you understand how to communicate requests and comments constructively.
7. How Do You Best Receive Recognition Or Appreciation?
Recognizing your employees’ hard work and effort can help them feel valued and ensure that they know that they contribute to their team. However, not everyone prefers the same forms of recognition. At WorkBright, we use a public recognition tool, but this doesn’t work for everyone. If you know that your new team member prefers private recognition, it will impact how you share your praise.
8. Do You Need More Information, Help, Or Time On This Assignment?
It’s a good practice to check in on your team members periodically, especially new hires. If a team member is feeling lost or overwhelmed, their work may suffer for it. It can be hard for new hires to reach out to you because they don’t want to seem incompetent. Reach out and let your new hire know that you are there to help.
9. Are You Comfortable Taking The Lead On This Assignment?
Some team members thrive in a leadership role, while others are more comfortable staying out of the spotlight and collaborating with their peers. Employee onboarding questions such as this can help you determine whether or not your employee has the aptitude and would be comfortable to lead in a particular assignment. This question becomes particularly salient at the end of their onboarding experience.
10. Where Do You Want To Be A Year From Now?
Getting a feel for your staff’s aspirations can help you determine if there is a different role they would rather fill or if they are seeking opportunities for advancement. If they prefer another position, you can test their aptitude for that role and perhaps provide some cross-training. If they want to create a new position or get a title advancement, you’ll have a year to help them achieve that goal.
11. Do You Prefer A Window, Middle, Or Aisle Seat? Why?
Most people who have ridden on an airplane have a seat preference. Some people can feel more easily closed in or claustrophobic, while others may find themselves easily distracted or isolated depending on where they are sitting. This unique new hire question (and any follow-up questions you ask) will help you decide how to best seat your team members to increase productivity.
12. What Equipment Might Help You Be At Your Most Productive?
Comfortable employees are more often productive. Sometimes, the right equipment can help your team member be more comfortable in their role. Depending on the job they perform, this could be as simple as a seat cushion, noise-canceling headphones, or back support. You should have a base level of equipment you give everyone, but don’t be afraid to purchase special equipment to help your team succeed.
13. Do You Know Who To Talk To If You Need Help?
This is one of the best new hire questions you can ask. New employees are not as familiar with their role or their place within a team. Sometimes new hires might prefer to suffer quietly if they don’t know who to ask for help. Knowing where to go if they need anything can help them become more comfortable and ensure complete tasks.
14. What Excites You Most About Your Position?
If your new hire’s job description is like most, it can be a conglomerate of a bunch of responsibilities. By understanding your employees’ interests, you can maximize their exposure to what excites them and ensure that each team member is in their ideal role. Once you know what they love, you can help them prioritize to contribute their unique ability to your organization.
15. How Confidently Do You Understand Your Role?
New hires, especially those lacking experience in a particular role, may not always understand the expectations within their role. This simple question can help ensure they are comfortable and knowledgeable about their responsibilities. Discussing this question is also a better opportunity for you to define the role and when you introduce the various aspects of their job description.
16. If You Could Change One Thing About Your Role, What Would You Change?
This open-ended question is a fantastic way to gain suggestions and look for areas of improvement within your company and team. For example, coordinator roles are typically a great introduction to a company, but they aren’t forever roles. Understanding what responsibilities your new hire wants to shed can help you get them in a role they’ll enjoy.
17. Do You Feel Like You Make A Meaningful Impact?
It’s essential that employees feel like they are contributing to production or their team. Feeling like their role has meaning and purpose can help boost motivation, production, and innovation. If your new hire isn’t feeling impactful, you can help them uncover the purpose of the role and why it’s important to your bottom line. If there is a misalignment and you (or both of you) feel like the role could be restructured to be more impactful, now is the time to consider that.
18. Do You Feel Safe In Your Work Environment?
Employee safety is a crucial topic, as some industries are hazardous, and certain job functions can potentially lead to injuries and disability. Make safety a priority in your workplace, and if a staff member does not feel safe, determine if changes can be made to help overall workplace safety.
19. What Are Your Strengths?
Once employees value and play to their strengths, your organization can excel rapidly. Consider taking a strengths test and going over the results together. What strengths have you noticed in your employee? Are you noticing something they haven’t considered? Have a deep conversation into strengths, weaknesses, and any professional development books and classes your employees can take to get better at their jobs.
20. What Is Your Biggest Work Pet Peeve?
We all have things that tick us off, like management that checks in too frequently or not often enough, machines that never run as they should, and excessive meetings or disorganization. Have an open discussion about your employee’s pet peeves to learn how to best approach them and where management may have areas of improvement.
21. Is Your Role What You Expected It To Be?
Gauging whether or not a role is what an employee expected will help you improve job posting descriptions and recruiting in the future. There is also a very tangible discussion that you can (and should) have about how to help their expectations meet the reality of their role. What can you rearrange or outsource to make their reality a bit more pleasant?
22. What Is The Largest Challenge That You’ve Faced Here So Far?
Understanding challenges in your workplace can lead to open discussions about the unnecessary roadblocks or red tape employees may face. As a manager, your job is to remove barriers so that your team can thrive. So take some time to connect with employees about their challenges and brainstorm solutions together.
23. What Did You Like Most/Least About Our Onboarding Process?
Surveying your new hires’ experiences with the onboarding process can show your company’s strengths/weaknesses and help you improve your onboarding strategy in the future. Once your survey has been answered, don’t forget to close the feedback loop. Let your team know how you will be fixing the onboarding process moving forward. You can also share which feedback you will be putting on the back burner for future testing.
24. Do You Align With The Organization’s Values And Vision?
If you want your new hire to succeed at your company, there must be some alignment with values and vision. Do they know the values and vision of your organization? If not, teach them. If so, do they align with your organization long-term? Your values and vision don’t have to overlap completely, but your organization shouldn’t be at odds with their personal beliefs.
25. What Aspects Of Your Role Concern You?
Knowing the worries that your team member may have will help you address these concerns before problems arise. Go through the role description with your new hire and highlight any areas of discomfort. Once that’s done, you’ll know where to focus your training.
26. Do You Feel Like You Need More Training?
Even if you create an elaborate 90-day training program, you won’t be able to touch on every topic or scenario. Allowing additional training can improve an employee’s productivity, understanding of their role, and your company’s retention rate. Make sure you key in on exact areas of improvement. Asking for specific areas they need more training in can save everyone time and energy.
27. Are There Topics In Your Role That Were Not Covered By Your Training?
Employee onboarding questions like this can help gauge how well your training program is and if any topics could use more coverage. You are bound to come across a couple of missed training areas, but as long as you have an open conversation with new employees, you can get them the help they need.
28. Have We Met Your _____ Expectations?
Like employers, employees have their own expectations when they accept a new position. Knowing whether or not those expectations have been met can help address problems before reaching potential conflict. Get specific around the expectations you want to discuss. Asking for general feedback can be helpful, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Instead, ask about things like salary, work hours, benefits, etc. These tailored conversations can help you get the most out of your time with an employee.
29. Do You Feel Confident In Your Role?
Employees that feel confident are often more productive. If your team member is not feeling confident with their role, determine if this is from a lack of understanding or training, and try to identify what may help boost their confidence.
30. Is There Anything You Would Change About Your Workflow?
We often inherit workflows from our managers or past employees who have held a position. It can be challenging to change these up right away, especially if your new hire doesn’t even know where to begin.
Sit down with new hires, ask this employee onboarding question, and challenge them to go through some of the routines they’ve created. What’s working? What could be improved upon? Encourage new hires to create routines that best fit their personal strengths.
31. Have We Made You Feel Welcome?
It’s essential to make sure that your employees feel comfortable and welcome in their new position. You want to make sure that all of the icebreakers and team bonding activities have positively impacted your new employee. If they do not feel welcome, ask what you can do to help.
32. Does Your Compensation Match The Duties Assigned To You?
Money is important. As much as we’d like to think that money isn’t everything, it can make a huge impact on a staff member’s life. If the compensation doesn’t match the duties assigned, it’s time to have a tough conversation. It doesn’t mean throwing money at their problem. There might be some alternative solutions like hiring freelancers, reducing workloads, or shifting job duties across your team.
33. How Would You Describe Your Relationship With Management?
Poor management and employee relations can cause workers to become disgruntled with their position and potentially seek work elsewhere. While not everyone is bound to get along, leadership must remain consistent and fair among their employees and do what they can to bring out the best in their team members. If you are afraid that employees may be dishonest, consider creating a confidential survey for your new employees to take.
34. Are You Interested In Advancement Or Other Roles Within The Company?
Some positions can serve as a stepping stone for others, and some employees may aspire to advance within a company. However, if advancement opportunities are not available, these employees may eventually grow frustrated with their position and may even seek work where advancement is more readily available. Knowing that your new hires are interested in advancement can help you plan future hiring cycles and raises.
35. Would You Recommend This Company To Your Friends And Family?
Word of mouth is crucial to a company’s image, and referrals to friends and family may help you gain additional employees. If a team member would not recommend your company to their friends and family, inquire as to why, and see if any improvements can be made.
36. Are There Any Significant Communications You Would Like Us to Fix?
Communication is vital in most positions. Problems with communication can swiftly impact motivation, production, and overall satisfaction within a job. Communication problems between team members and management must be minimal. Let your team know that you are willing to listen and find ways to improve communication at work.
37. What Are Your Hobbies?
Getting to know your staff and their interests can help build rapport and aid team members in feeling welcome and valued within a company. Once you know their hobbies, you have insight into what they do for fun, how they spend time outside of work, and you can connect them with employees who share similar hobbies.
38. Are There Any Co-Workers Or Management That Have Been Particularly Helpful To You?
Asking about workers and management that are influential in making a team member feel welcome and improving retention or productivity can help with bolstering the overall team. With this information, you can recognize outstanding employees and identifying management potential.
39. Do You Like The Company’s Culture So Far? Are There Areas That Need To Be Improved?
Every organization has a company culture. You must ensure that your company has a positive work environment that will help productivity and employee satisfaction. Negative cultures can drastically reduce employee tenure, so it’s important that new employees feel excited about their work environment.
40. What Are Your Ultimate Career Goals?
What does the top of their career mountain look like? After you know where they want to be a year from now, you have to uncover where they want to be in five or ten years. That role might not be at your organization, but you want the work they do here to drive them towards their ultimate goal.
41. Would You Like Less Or More Direction From Management?
Employees who feel micromanaged may feel unduly stressed with their position. This common stressor is easily avoided. However, too little direction can be equally frustrating and may leave employees feeling unsupported. Make sure that your employees feel the right amount of direction from management by asking this simple question.
42. Tell Me About Your Worst And Best Day Here So Far
The first few months at a new organization can be filled with positive and negative emotions. This open-ended question will help you learn more about the likes, dislikes, and frustrations that your new hire may have with their position. It can also help build rapport among employees and help them feel heard. Hopefully, you can both conclude that the good days outweigh the bad ones.
43. How Would You Grade Your Work?
Ask new hires to self-evaluate their performance and work to help gauge if your employee feels comfortable within their role and work environment. If you notice that they are grading themselves worse than you, let them know. Instill confidence by sharing your thoughts on the work they’re doing.
44. Is There Anything In The Way Of Your Success?
This is another employee onboarding question that allows new hires to express difficulties they face in their role and start a dialogue on how these challenges may be alleviated. Like we shared earlier, it’s your job to remove roadblocks, and this question helps you understand those exact challenges.
45. Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
While there are many great new hire questions, giving a new team member the floor to ask about anything is a great way to start an honest conversation. As simple as this question is, it helps you gauge how they are doing in their new role. It can also help your employee realize that they have a team of people they can rely on now.
46. How Do You Prefer To Receive Feedback?
Remote positions can be challenging when it comes to feedback. As people, we use gestures, expressions, and tone of voice to convey just as much as we do with our words. However, this may not always be the case when it comes to remote workers. Therefore, understanding how your new team members best receive feedback and the format that they prefer can be invaluable and lead to constructive conversations in the future.
47. What Will Help You Feel Like A Part Of The Team?
Teamwork and collaboration are crucial in the workplace, and that includes remote roles. However, it can sometimes be challenging to ensure that your remote workers feel like part of a team without face-to-face dialogue. Helping your remote workers feel like they are part of the team can increase productivity and retention.
48. Do You Consider Yourself An Introvert Or An Extrovert? Are You Somewhere In The Middle?
Remote work often lacks the same level of social interaction as onsite employees. For example, some remote team members may look forward to Zoom meetings and conference calls, while others may prefer to be left to their own devices as much as possible. Gauging how much social interaction your remote team member might need can help you ensure that they feel included, valued, and happy with their position. Introverts, extroverts, and centroverts all need different things, so this allows you to find out what your team needs to succeed.
49. What Motivates You?
This is another open-ended question that can help management determine how to help keep their team members motivated and help them achieve their full potential. In addition, asking this question flat out allows you to have an interesting conversation that moves your working relationship forward.
50. What’s The Best/Worst Team You’ve Ever Worked For And Why?
One of the best ways to create a stellar work environment is to learn from other experiences. Gaining insight into your employee’s past experiences, how they were motivated, and what made them enjoy their team can help you structure and manage relations within your own remote team.
Conclusion: Incorporating New Hire Questions into Your Onboarding Strategy
So, what do these employee onboarding questions look like when implemented? As you connect with new hires, it’s important to discuss these topics during 1:1s, training sessions, and surveys. You can also build forms in your employee onboarding software of choice that covers these questions. It doesn’t have to feel like an interview. You’ll probably want to spread these conversations out over the first few months with your organization.
Some of these topics will probably come up naturally as you build a rapport with your new team members.
However you decide to connect with new hires, these questions can help start the conversation.