You're a big company. Imagine you had a simple user interface built into the coffee machine in your workplace's kitchens. You can ask every employee a question or two every day (and they'll answers). What would you ask?
"What is the most positive action by a fellow employee that you noticed?"
There is a cultural bias in companies for employees to spend a lot of time complaining (or whinging as the Aussie's say) which focuses attention on negativities. There is a need to systematically counteract this bias, and asking for a focus on the positive or "bright spots" will do so.
1. If you could work for only 1 hour today, what will you spend your time on, and why is that your top priority?
2. How can you make sure that today you are 1% better than yesterday?
Priorities and continuos improvement will win the race in the long term.
I would ask open ended questions to get them really talking like:
1. How can we improve your work environment?
2. What do you find can be improved with our medical benefits?
3. What other job tasks would you be interested in performing for your role here?
Open ended questions are questions that are not answered with one word like "yes", "no", "maybe". Make employees open up, hence "open ended questions".
How are you feeling today? We built a site called happiily (currently offline) that allowed employees to anonymously answer this in a structured way (yes, no, somewhat).
We found that it produced significant insights into operational issues of our customers.
A site similar to what we built is called TinyPulse.
We decided that as a business our focus was best spent elsewhere but the idea of asking a single question or a simple set of questions was effective.
There are two problems with asking a repetitive question though:
1). Employees will tire of the repetition.
2) Without clear, timely and regular communication from leadership as to how the answers provided are impacting leadership decisions and actions, employees will find the exercise futile.
As this is an area I have a lot of experience with and passion for, I'd be happy to talk to you in a call.
I think at every point, people have different yet individual things they are dealing with. And there's nothing as having a shoulder to cry on when you need to. But when an unsolicited care is shown, especially from a Boss, it literally makes the things somewhat bearable.
So yes, the appropriate Question is How are you doing today? But mean it. Dont ask an employee about their welfare and before they get the chance to reply, you are walking away. It's not cool!
You have to build a team that knows you truly care. That way, such simple questions can mean the world to them. It's important