Employee engagement

How To Write Employee Spotlight Questions (Plus Formats)

Learn how to write employee spotlight questions and the best practices for implementing employee spotlights.

Kinjal Dagli

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

Published on 

January 16, 2024

Updated on 

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Beyond earning a living, committing to spending 40 or more hours of time at work every week is no easy decision. Therefore, a must-have feature and future of work is employee satisfaction. 

In fact, when job satisfaction is higher, you can predict employee retention, customer loyalty and financial outcomes for your company, according to a study on how “Happy employees may be the key to success for organizations.” Organizations with low job satisfaction often face higher employee turnover rates, losing talent and experienced workers, recruitment and training costs and institutional knowledge. 

Do you know that one of the foremost ways of boosting job satisfaction is through employee spotlights? It is key to employees getting to know and appreciate each other, fostering a sense of community and improving team collaborations. 

In this article, we will take you through the steps of writing employee spotlight questions, including formats you can draw inspiration from!

What is employee spotlight?

Employee spotlight is both a personal and professional way of sharing your employees’ stories through content you publish on your internal communication channels, organization’s social media pages, career websites and other similar channels. These posts often include everything from employee work history, hobbies and interests to personal achievements. You can publish them in a wide range of formats, including video, audio or text, depending on your company preference or mode of communication.

Employee spotlights help to showcase your company values, culture, training opportunities and efforts to nurture individual growths. We highlight some other benefits of employee spotlights below:

  • Spotlights boost workplace motivation and develops a sense of empowerment among workers
  • They improve the overall employee experience by making employees feel appreciated and recognized
  • They enhance retention rates and recruitment strategies when prospective employees see how you foster employee growth and development
  • By recognizing employee achievements you build employee satisfaction and overall happiness with the organization
  • It is a way to encourage meaningful collaboration and mentoring opportunity among employees

With an effective employee spotlight program in place, you promote your positive work culture to the outside world, building trust, credibility and confidence with new and existing clients. 

What are employee spotlight questions?

Employee spotlight questions are a list of inquiries used to highlight the personal and professional lives of employees in an organization. They are a way of introducing employees to their colleagues and the outside world. It involves employees sharing their opinion about work, experiences, personal and professional achievements. 

It is quite distinct from a traditional performance review, where managers and co-workers evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an employee. Employee spotlight questions provide the opportunity for employees to share their experience and feel recognized and appreciated for their contribution in the organization. 

How to write employee spotlight questions

When you’re creating questions for your employee spotlight, consider open-ended questions that would elicit insightful responses. Although it’s important to discuss employee skills, responsibilities and achievements, the goal is to create questions that help you learn more about their work ethics, motivation and personality.

  1. Understand the purpose of employee spotlights

What is the purpose of employee spotlights posts if you don’t promote? Make sure your employees have access to the content through your internal communication channels. This helps people in other departments find out about their colleagues, building collaboration, team spirit and overall sense of community.

2. Choose the right employee

It is important to ensure that your employee spotlight covers a diverse range of team players and personalities in your organization. Rather than focus on “star” performers or talents in the workplace, you can ask managers for recommendation on employees to spotlight. This is especially important for big companies where you can’t possibly know everyone. Through spotlights, employees can get to know colleagues in other departments and gain recognition for their contribution to the growth of the company. 

3. Structure the employee spotlight

An effective employee spotlight would depend on your oranization and can be offered in several ways. However, every employee recognition piece should cover company culture, employee engagement, leadership, accomplishment and success stories, professional growth, passion projects and some unique qualities of your organization. Personal, professional and company value should be on display. 

Creating a template or simple checklist that encompasses these components is key. Whatever you decide on, include sections on personal background, achievements and contributions for a personalized spotlight. 

4. Highlight achievements and contributions

Spotlights should not be centered around your organization only. Leave room for the interviewee to share personal experiences, achievements and contributions that matter to them. For instance, if you want to showcase the company’s culture, ask employees about team-building events they participated in or steps they have seen the company take in that direction.

5. Create engaging content

You can present your employee spotlights in several ways to make it entertaining. Experiment to see what works best for your company. Conversational tones and storytelling techniques have been known to capture readers’ attention. While some organizations use Q&As in company newsletters, some publish on blogs. Videos and audio recordings work effectively too as they add personality to the content.  

6. Incorporate visuals

Images and videos are a good way to pique and sustain the interest of your audience. Consider incorporating video footage of your employees at work or doing a few activities to make the spotlight more relatable. If you decide on photos or videos, make sure they are of high quality and have descriptive captions.

7. Encourage employee involvement

Infuse some depth and authenticity into your spotlight creation process by including quotes, testimonials from emploees. Employees in larger firms with several divisions often find it tough to get to know each other. Spotlights can break the barrier across departments, helping staff to communicate with their colleagues.  

8. Edit and review process

Spotlights are genuine approaches to selling your business, devoid of marketing jargon and salesy tools. It is an opportunity to stand out and project your company in a positive light. Avoid salesy words and make sure your spotlight does what it is meant to, project your employees and the company well. Always review and edit properly before posting.

20 Employee spotlight questions to get you started

The workplace is evolving in different ways, the shift from traditional performance evaluation to a more engaging and personalized approach of recognizing and appreciating employees is just one of it. What better recognition than interviewing employees and featuring it in spaces that represent your organizatin. 

The impact on communication and relationships within the organization is always apparent. Through well crafted questions, you can glimpse insights into employee strengths, goals and aspirations. We have listed some ideas for employee spotlight questions below:

  • What made you join our organization and how has your time been so far?
  • Can you tell us about a project or achievement you’re especially proud of?
  • How do you solve challenges in your role, and what ways to you use to overcome them?
  • What aspect of your job do you find the most fulfilment in, and why?
  • What skills or talents do you have that your colleagues know about?
  • What motivates you to put your best into work each day?
  • Can you remember a time you felt truly recognized and appreciated by your team or the company?
  • What are your contributions to ensuring positive team culture in your department?
  • Do you have a colleague that has positively impacted your work and how did they go about that?
  • What opportunities for learning and developing are you currently pursuing to enhance your skills?
  • How do you create a work-life balance, do you have any tips to share?
  • What values would you suggest is essential for  successful and collaborative teams to have?
  • Besides your current role, what other projects would you like to work on and why?
  • How do you stay in touch with advancements and trends in your field?
  • Can you share a time you were able to collaborate effectively with a cross-functional team?
  • Can you share some of your long term goals and how you see yourself evolving in the organization?
  • How do you deal with stress and remain productive during peak periods?
  • Do you have causes or initiatives you are passionate about outside work?
  • Any advice for new employees joining our organization?
  • How would you describe the company culture in just three words, and why?

Best practices for an employee spotlight

Spotlights are undeniable ways to strengthen relationship within your organization and create new ones. You can also build rapport with customers, potential employees and other stakeholders through employee spotlights. 

People outside the organization get to connect to the human side of things, it opens a channel for employees to build effective mentor-mentee connections. But before you record videos or write posts and requesting for employee photos, consider the employee spotlight best practices we have below. 

1. Set clear objectives

Setting clear objectives for your spotlights ensures you can adjust the program where needed. It could be that you want people to have a firsthand experience of what it’s like to work in your organization. It could be an avenue for employee recognition and appreciation. To improve team engagement or highlight the personal achievement of employees while working at your company. Depending on your objectives, ask questions that reflect your employees’ perception of their work and your firm’s distinctive characteristics. 

2. Use inclusive selection criteria 

To create a robust employee spotlight, select people from different departments and working in varying capacity within your organization. Choose people with varying levels of experience for inclusivity and to ensure representation. Make participation optional and send a list of questions to participants even if you will still conduct a face-to-face interview. 

3. Embrace and inculcate diverse recognition formats

You can explore different formats for employee recognition. Written profiles, team shout-outs or video interviews are just some of the ways to show employee appreciation. You might even consider a podcast depending on the demographics of your target audience. The older generation relate better to blog or newsletter, do your research and try different platforms to decide the best for your company.

4. Consistency and frequency

Once you figure out your audience’s preference from the first few spotlights, it is easier to create content they will respond to. However, consistency is key to building and maintaining an effective spotlighting culture in your organization. Use user suggestions to fine-tune your spotlights and release them at regular intervals. You just need to establish a regular schedule for producing employee spotlight content.  

5. Employee involvement and feedback

Collect feedback from employees after sharing one or two spotlights, afterall the event is about them. What do they think of spotlights? How can you improve them in the future? What should be included in future interviews? These are some of the questions you can ask to gather actionable feedbacks to continuously improve the program. This will also encourage employees to be involved in the process and feel heard. 

6. Integration with company values

The ultimate aim of spotlights is to project the company as a place of healthy expectations, employee acknowledgement and appreciation. Also, encourage employees to share spotlight content if it is on social media. Publish the content on your corporate blog and share the link in newsletters to customers and potential clients. People get to see the human side of your organization and it eventually becomes a part of your core values. Promoting it externally also boost your brand and reputation. 

The connection between mentorship and employee spotlight 

Mentorship and employee spotlight initiatives are complementary aspects of building relationships among employees. Employees can build mentor-mentee relationships from seeing what they have in common in spotlights. Potential mentees can also learn more about their proposed mentors for future mentorship programs, through employee spotlights. We will discuss the ways mentorship and employee spotlights are connected below:

  • Gaining recognition from spotlights: Spotlights give employees the opportunity to gain recognition and be known for their achievement and contributions as individuals. This recognition can include mentorship efforts, where mentors are appreciated for their impact on the professional development of their mentees.
  • Show mentor-mentee relationships: Employee spotlights can be used to feature successful mentor-mentee connections within the organization. Showing stories of growth and development facilitated by mentorship to inspire others to participate in such programs.
  • Engagement and motivation: By recognizing mentors and mentees in spotlights, you contribute to a positive workplace culture. This creates an atmosphere of motivation and engagement among employees, showing that the organization hold professional growth and collaboration in high esteem. 
  • A way to encourage mentorship programs: Employee spotlights can be avenues to encourage employees to participate in mentoring programs. By showing the positive outcomes of mentorship, companies can motivate employees to become mentors and mentees.
  • Building a supportive community: Including mentorship stories in spotlights help to build a supportive community in the organization. It stresses the importance of having guidance and being an active learner. Ultimately, it makes employees feel supported in their professional journey. 

Make employee spotlights a part of your company culture

Employee spotlights are worth the efforts, companies will benefit immensely from putting them in place. Be flexible and always take steps to improve your spotlight programs overtime. It is something to keep honing and refining to embed it in the company’s culture and value system.

Together is a modern solution that enhances employee engagement, company culture and professional development. 

Schedule a demo to get started on your employee engagement journey.

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