Those moments when employees come knocking on your door and saying: ”Can I ask you something?” can be dreadful, right? You never know what kind of request or question you’ll get. As their employer, you need to come up with a solution, an accurate answer, or simply a good response.
Tips for Handling Employees’ Questions
For many employers, this happens in the course of every workday, often even more than once. Effective leadership is all about communicating well and being available to others, but it also depends on the ability to answer the most pressing questions.
With that in mind, here are some great tips you can use to improve.
Create an informational Wiki page
Any good business needs to have a comprehensive FAQ page or guide that employees can access at any point. Now when technology is so deeply immersed into people’s lives, creating a web page that includes the relevant information is an amazing idea.
You might not have the time to answer the same questions over and over again to many employees who ask them. Not to mention, they will hesitate before they come back to ask the same thing if they forget how to complete a task. This can seriously damage their productivity and in turn, your company’s progress.
A good Wiki page can help you inform all interested parties in real-time. You can use it for employee onboarding as part of employee training. When you make a Wiki, new employees can absorb the key information about their work and your business and train faster and better for the job.
This, of course, can be of use for existing employees, too. Think of it as an ongoing resource for everyone. It can be updated and tweaked whenever you need to get information out there, and it eliminates the need of sharing details with everyone individually.
Once you create a comprehensive Wiki Page, make sure that everyone knows to refer to it if they need some answers. If they can’t, they should come knocking on your door. You’d be amazed how the number of questions can decrease if people have where to go for common answers!
Delegate where possible – and necessary
There’s no shame in saying: ”Figure it out yourself” to an employee who keeps avoiding their obligations or frequently creates trouble. However, turning this into a habit is a dreadful way to treat your employees, not to mention bad leadership.
Delegating tasks is wise in a business and obviously – necessary when it comes to employees. Why? You hired those employees to do some tasks that would benefit the business. If you keep taking all tasks from them just because they don’t understand or like them, why did you hire them in the first place?
To be more, delegating tasks gives you more time to handle your responsibilities as their leader. According to a Strategic Thinking Institute survey, 96% of leaders feel like they have no time for strategic thinking.
Your position puts you high in the chain of command. This gives you control over the tasks and who they’re assigned to. If one employee is struggling or cannot understand a task and frequently comes up to you with concerns, you might want to delegate it – but to someone else. Ask others to help out the project. Set up training or lessons to help your employees understand the task.
Saying: ”I’ll do it” is simple at first, but it can seriously harm your job, as well as your position as an employer. You don’t want to torture your staff, but you also don’t want to be too lenient.
Extra tip: Delegate your answering responsibilities to someone else
Not only can you delegate people’s tasks to someone else when they keep asking questions about them, but you can also delegate this process. If possible, hire someone to handle people’s questions regarding their job tasks. Find a person who knows the work and is a good leader. Or, simply send your new employee to an experienced employee and say: ‘’Ask Martha to help you learn this’’.
Take your time to provide the right answer
Imagine this scenario. A person comes with you with a concern or question that you don’t know how to resolve or answer right now. There’s no shame in telling them about this. Making up answers or throwing people out of your office for no good reason are the worst things you can do.
No one can know everything, right? So, if you don’t know the answer or don’t have the time to clarify things to your employee, tell them about it. Ask them to come back later or tell them that you’ll reach out when you know the answer. Or, say: ‘’leave this with me, I’ll take care of it’’ if you have the time to do it.
Learn to say ‘No’
If people see that you’re taking their tasks and are too lenient when they come to you with requests, they might try to misuse this. Good leaders are always helpful and communicate with their employees. But, they also know when to say ‘’no’’ and are not afraid to do it.
When you feel like an employee is asking for too much or you cannot give them a ‘yes’ answer, don’t skimp around and try to avoid their question. You might feel like they will dislike you if you don’t give them a day off when their tasks are piling up, or if you don’t allow them to take a 4-hour break just because their cousin is in town.
You already know that they are wrong, so say ‘No’. They might not like it, but it is your job. This means no apologizing if an apology is not needed, no postponing, and no leaving people hanging because you cannot make yourself say ‘no’.
Use the opportunity to teach and guide them
You want people who work for you to do their job well – and love it. They won’t do any of this unless they understand it. If they struggle too much and too often, it can diminish their motivation and their results.
When you have the time and opportunity, turn questions into teaching opportunities. Write down the most common questions you get from employees and set up a training or meeting where you can answer them to all. Very often, the solution to the most common problems is simple, straightforward ‘’Here is what you should do’’.
Scheduling some ”questions time” for your employees every now and then is not a bad idea, either. This will allow you to have more control over your time since people will wait for the meeting to ask questions that aren’t urgent. It will also give a chance to the shy employees who wouldn’t come to your office otherwise.
Common questions that you should be able to answer
Now that you know some tricks on how to handle such situations, let’s take a look at examples of questions you might get at work:
- What does the company expect of me? This is a question that employers frequently get from new additions to the company. People who haven’t worked with you before might not know exactly what their obligations are. When prepping for interviews, be ready to tell every interviewee about their future obligations, the goals of the company, as well as share some work methods where needed.
- Can I get a raise? If you think that the person really deserves a raise, give it to them (and apologize for not thinking of it first). If you are unsure, don’t just toss the idea aside. Tell them you need time to decide. And, if you don’t think that the person deserves a raise, don’t just say ‘’No’’. This will make them less motivated to work. Instead, tell them ‘’not right now’’ and share some tips on how they can improve and what they need to do to get the raise.
- How am I doing? Every now and then, you’ll get an insecure or simply motivated employee knocking on your door asking this question. It’s not unusual for workers to want to know if they’re doing a good job. This means that they need more feedback from you. Provide them with it, but also make sure to do this more regularly without people asking for it. It’s a real sign that you need to change things.
Juggling your tasks and being there for every employee who needs you is not easy. It can be time-consuming and challenging, especially when you don’t know the right answer or approach. Make sure to follow the tips above to make your work easier and build a stronger relationship with your employees. But, before everything else, remember to stay positive and available to your staff – all for your good and the good of your business. A smile can go a long way, even when you’re giving the person a negative answer.
Follow TechDee for more Technology, Business and Digital Marketing News.