Employees need to know they can ask questions

Do your employees come to you for advice when they hit a roadblock at work? If so, be thankful. Yes, some of us are guilty of having too much of an open door policy. But the consequences of that are usually much better than the opposite.

According to a survey of British employees conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the British Library, 85 percent of workers would go somewhere else—seemingly anywhere else—before asking their supervisors for help.

Stop and think about this for a minute. Where are YOUR employees getting their questions answered. From another employee who failed his last two IICRC courses? From texting a friend of his who is an experienced water tech … at a competitors shop? You get the message, right?

The good news (hey, there is always some … somewhere): Only 23 percent of employees surveyed said they turn elsewhere because they don’t trust their boss’s judgment or ability to help. Instead, 48 percent said they didn’t want to bother their managers, while 30 percent said they were afraid of looking incompetent and 20 percent worried about being negatively judged for not knowing what to do.

What this all boils down to is be encouraging and enthusiastic when an employee asks you a question. Don’t brush them off or make them feel stupid.

Remind employees that you’re there to assist them, and don’t punish them for asking reasonable questions. Your job is to enable them to do their jobs.