In order to not get sidetracked with all the topics, we’ve prepared a short questionnaire, which every employee gets before their coffee in order to calmly answer the questions. These only help us guide our conversation – the goal is to get the conversation going without the interviewee reading the answers from the list. The questionnaire is composed of 4 parts:
1. Beginning with some positive thoughts
It is advisable to always start a conversation with positive thoughts – which also applies to the discussion with the CEO. First, we talk about the good, positive sides of the company and me as a CEO and about the things in which the employee enjoys the most. This lets me know what I need to work on; what suits them, what motivates them and, last but not least, what makes them happy at their workplace.
2. Your role in the company
This section is made up of questions such as “How do think your colleagues would describe you?”, “Where do you see your added value to the company?” and “What are your greatest frustrations and obstacles?”. The aim of these questions is for the employees to dig deep into themselves. People don’t spend enough time on personal growth and satisfaction so we seldom ask ourselves about the issues that influence the quality of our work and our well-being in the workplace. Some people are only made aware of certain issues when they talk about them out loud. All this is of course extremely important for the employer because they can help the employee overcome their obstacles or make sure they don’t put them there in the first place if that’s possible.
3. We can always be better!
It’s hard to make people constantly give feedback and suggestions for improving the company; after all, we’re not directly paid to do that. But in good companies, this can at least be done indirectly: with good suggestions the company can make outstanding progress, which consequently brings higher salaries. The third part therefore focuses just on that: what the employee believes could still be changed in the process, services or culture of the company. To finish this part we talk about their career path: where the employee sees his or herself in the future and how I can help them get there.
4. To get to know you better …
Our coffee date ends with a positive and relaxing debate about the events the employee most looks forward to in the near future, about what goes on in their private life, about the goals of the next few months and their life’s vision. The conversation usually fires up and could even last 2–3 hours, while the result is similar with all: a to-do list, filled with great suggestions, which we try to put into practice as soon as possible. That is after all the main purpose of the coffee with the CEO.
One of the greatest compliments or indications that this actually “works” is the sentence I often hear when I send the invite: “I hope it’s as awesome as everyone says it is”. I am more than delighted that I get so much trust from the side of my employees. The talk I have with them affects me deeply – a lot of times it all gets so emotional that my eyes start to water. Constructive criticism and especially praises and thankyous truly are a recipe for the best spice in the world.
I hope this article helps an employer or two make a positive change in their company as well – it’s high time that Slovenia gets a more positive work culture. You can also take a look at the second part of the questionnaire, which is used on all meetings after the first one. Good luck! :)