“Ask so they receive” is the title of a recent submission I had on the TPE blog.  Mike throws out a question and people submit comments of 500 or less characters.  This is what I said:

When you have a new hire and at yearly performance reviews ask the employee to list 9 ways they would like to be rewarded.  Have 3 items low budget, 3 mid and 3 high.  Let them know that as long as the business is doing well you will aim for the mid and high rewards.  Review their list yearly in case of changes. This serves 2 purposes 1) they will be rewarded with what they value and 2) they will help the company do better to get the mid and high rewards.

The irony is that of the almost 100 submissions most of them said similar, ask people what they need, learn what your employees value.  Yet most people today say they are never asked and rarely rewarded. Where do we start and how do we fix the disconnect?  Is it the company culture or is it the lack of knowledge about best practices?  Why are we hesitant to ask what they want?

Which brings me to the 2nd part of this; we don’t ask enough questions we often just do without thinking about the long-term impact.  My HRD students recently had 2 projects; one was to interview senior practitioners and the other was to answer one of a series of cases.  In both project,s they missed several opportunities to ask additional follow up questions.  What really concerned me was one case where the manager says redo the training program.  Those that answered that case never asked why or what redo meant.  If this had been a real example the company could have spent money they didn’t need to spend or kept an employee that was toxic. This would not have happened if the right questions had been asked.

Why are we so afraid to ask questions?  Why do we just move forward doing the same thing and never asking what if, or could we? Imagine what results you might get if you asked how the actions enable people to meet their goals?  Or you could ask the impact of what they are doing on the strategic direction or even the day to day operations.  Step out of your comfort zone ask the questions and see what could happen