How to get your employees to tell you the truth

When trying to dig to the bottom of issues at work, do you find it hard getting your employees to tell you the whole truth? Discover how using presumptive statements can help you to get your employees to be more honest.

What is a presumptive statement?

“What is a presumptive statement?” we hear you say. It is a statement or question which makes the person you are speaking to think that you know more than you do about a situation. The person will then have to answer the question rather than giving you a simple yes or no answer, which makes it harder for them to cover up a porky that they may be telling. According to Professor Jack Schafer, because humans have a strong desire to be right and to correct others, they will always be compelled to give you the correct answer if you ask them a presumptive statement.

Examples of how these statements work

For example, if you are looking to find out if a staff member has recently updated their sales target form. Instead of simply asking them “Have you updated your sales target form?” to which they could just answer yes. You should instead ask them “When was the last time you updated your sales target form?” Or if you want to know if they have been cleaning the walkways in the stock room regularly, instead of saying “Have you been cleaning the walkways in the stockroom?” You should say “When was the last time you cleaned the walkways in the stockroom?” If they haven’t been cleaning the walkways regularly then the employee would probably┬áhesitate and have to think back to when they did, because they will have to assess whether you really do know the last time they cleaned the walkway. But of course, if they have been cleaning them then they will not hesitate.

Get into a habit

If you get into a habit of asking open-ended presumptive questions, rather than closed yes/no questions, then you’ll find that your employees will tell you a lot more. This will give you a better insight into things that are being done or things that aren’t being done.

Digital solutions

Of course, if you are constantly struggling to get your staff to do certain tasks then perhaps it’s time to move your operations to a digital platform. The checklist feature on Oplift means that you can set times for when you want your checklists to be completed. Employees will have to either cross or tick each task and the checklist reports will be sent straight to head office. This means you will always know what has been done, by who, and at what time, so that tasks will never be missed again.


Other posts that may be of interest to you:

8 horrifying things you should never say to your employees

7 things that make your employees super stressed

Never say these phrases to your co-workers

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 21st November 2018