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50 Fun Employee Spotlight Questions to Ignite Engagement

If you’re looking to increase engagement and boost recognition, employee spotlight questions are a great way to go. We’ve got lots of questions for you — and answers.
Written by: Penny Swift
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Published: July 10, 2024
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In today’s fast-paced and competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent can be a daunting task. With job-hopping on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to stand out and showcase their unique employer brand. One effective way to do this is by highlighting the exceptional individuals who drive your company’s success, and sharing their stories and experiences with the company and the outside world. By shining a spotlight on employees, you can not only build a stronger employer brand but also attract the best and brightest candidates to your organization.

Employee spotlights are a great way to boost engagement within your organization. They go beyond simply recognizing achievements. They humanize your team, fostering a sense of community and connection.

Former SHRM-certified human resources (HR) manager, Andrea Boatman, who writes for the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), highlights the value of an employee spotlight. She confirms that it’s a powerful way to humanize your organization, making it more relatable and attractive to potential employees. 

“Sharing employee spotlights externally gives prospective talent and clients an insider’s point of view of your company. This, in turn, humanizes the brand, making the company more relatable and approachable to potential candidates and customers.”

Andrea Boatman

And, of course, employee spotlights recognize your people and their efforts, building camaraderie.

This post explores the benefits of employee spotlights. We help you create employee spotlight questions together with best practices and 50 employee spotlight question suggestions. But first, let’s touch on the importance of recognition — which is what an employee spotlight aims to do. 

Importance of Recognition

Employee Spotlight: Examples and the Role of Digital Platforms in Recognition by Vantage Circle highlights that those working in HR realize that “employees are the most valuable assets to a company. And to make them feel appreciated, the employee spotlight is a fantastic tool that fosters a positive workplace culture, increases employee retention and nurtures value for work.” 

There’s lots of research that shows this to be true. For instance, Nectar surveys related to employee recognition reveal some intriguing statistics. For example:

  • 83.6% of employees feel recognition affects their motivation to succeed
  • 77.9% of employees would be more productive if recognized more frequently 
  • 81.9% say that recognition for what they do improves employee engagement 
  • 71% would be less likely to leave if they were recognized more often
  • 87% feel that meaningful recognition impacts their job satisfaction

The Gallup/Workhuman report, Empowering Workplace Culture Through Recognition, states that recognition is one of the strongest forces for building and maintaining culture and engaging employees. 

Gallup and Workhuman have identified five essential pillars of strategic recognition. Furthermore, their research shows that recognition is most effective when it is:

  1. Fulfilling employees’ recognition expectations
  2. Authentic and not just a “checklist”
  3. Personalized, because one size doesn’t fit all
  4. Equitable and given fairly
  5. Embedded in the organization’s culture

“Specifically, the research shows that employees who receive great recognition are 20 times as likely to be engaged as employees who receive poor recognition.”

Gallup/Workhuman

In The Importance of Employee Recognition: Statistics and Research, Quantum Workplace states that only 35% of employees receive recognition monthly or weekly. But one in two (50%) say they would like more recognition. 

Clearly, an employee spotlight that provides recognition and appreciation for an employee’s work can go a long way toward motivating employees.

What are Employee Spotlights?

Employee spotlights provide a way to publicly recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of your team members. Most are short narratives that celebrate the achievements and contributions of team members. They can be published on your company website, in your employee spotlight newsletter, on a dedicated employee recognition platform, on social media, on LinkedIn, and YouTube.

An employee spotlight can focus on anything positive. Some companies use them to welcome new employees. Others take the opportunity to highlight employees’ expertise and achievements. 

They can showcase an employee’s specific skills and accomplishments, allowing them to shine and inspire others. They can also focus on work ethics and values, demonstrating the company’s values in action, and revealing how individuals embody them in their daily work. Another approach is to connect with employees on a personal level. This is one of the best ways to humanize the company and help to build a more positive and relatable work environment.

A 2024 Qualtrics report, Employee Experience Trends, indicates that nearly three-quarters of employees are comfortable sharing work-related communication details. This suggests that many employees are receptive to personal spotlights.

Benefits of Employee Spotlights

In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to stand out as an employer of choice. One effective way to do this is by implementing employee spotlights. Done imaginatively, they will illustrate a multitude of benefits for both employees and the organization as a whole. 

Here are some of the many advantages of implementing an employee spotlight: 

  • Boosts employee morale: Recognition is a powerful motivator. Highlighting achievements publicly shows your employees and team members that their contributions are valued.
  • Strengthens company culture: An employee spotlight gives a glimpse into the personality and interests of a team member, fostering a sense of connection and belonging.
  • Improves communication: An employee spotlight can encourage conversation and spark collaboration between colleagues with shared interests. 
  • Attracts top talent: Highlighting a positive work environment can be a great recruitment tool. Showcasing happy and engaged employees lets potential candidates know your company is a great place to work.

These are all internal benefits. An exciting element is that an employee spotlight can also have an external benefit. 

Ascend Business Growth highlights that external employee spotlights can be invaluable as a sales tool. They suggest checking out company About pages and leadership including LinkedIn pages. 

“If you have complex buying behavior, employee spotlights could give potential customers more confidence in the company and its service or product. If you find there isn’t chemistry, it’s probably best to end the relationship before either party invests too much time or energy.” Ascend Business Growth

benefits of employee spotlights

What are Employee Spotlight Questions?

Employee spotlight questions form the core of your employee spotlight feature. They delve into both the professional and personal aspects of team members, revealing their unique skills, experiences, and interests.

By asking thoughtful and engaging questions, you can uncover the stories, passions, and values that make every employee stand out. This can include questions about their career journey, favorite projects, hobbies, or personal achievements, as well as their thoughts on company culture, teamwork, and leadership. The goal of employee spotlight questions is to humanize your team and showcase their individuality, making your organization more relatable and attractive to potential employees, customers, and partners.

what are employee spotlight questions

By sharing these stories, you can also foster a sense of community and connection among your employees, and provide a platform for them to share their expertise and build their personal brand. Additionally, employee spotlight questions can help to identify and develop internal talent, provide valuable insights for employee development and retention, and even serve as a valuable recruitment tool to attract top talent to your organization.

Best Practices for Creating Employee Spotlight Questions

In today’s competitive job market, showcasing your employees’ unique personalities, skills, and experiences is a powerful way to differentiate your organization and attract top talent. By asking the right questions, you can humanize your team, build trust with your audience, and provide a platform for your employees to share their stories and showcase their expertise. 

why create employee spotlight questions

However, crafting effective employee spotlight questions requires a thoughtful and intentional approach. It’s not just about asking generic questions or relying on surface-level answers. Instead, you need to dig deeper, ask meaningful questions, and create a sense of connection with your audience. In this section, we’re going to explore the best practices for creating employee spotlight questions that truly shine a light on your team members and help you build a strong employer brand.

Variety is Key

  • Balance serious with lighthearted questions: Don’t just focus on professional achievements. Include questions that reveal personalities and interests. Mix in some fun, lighthearted inquiries to make the spotlight more engaging.
  • Cater to different personalities: Consider your audience. Some questions might be better suited for introverts who prefer reflection, while others can spark conversation for extroverts.

Align with Company Culture

  • Reflect your values: Choose questions that showcase the aspects of your organizational culture you value most. Maybe collaboration is key. Highlight teamwork-oriented questions.
  • Showcase company personality: Is your company known for being fun and quirky? Include questions that reflect this! That way you can expect answers that matter. 

Spark Conversation Starters

  • Go beyond Yes/No: Avoid questions with one-word answers. Ask open-ended questions that encourage elaboration and storytelling.
  • Dig deeper: Don’t just ask about current projects. Explore the career journeys of employees as well as past experiences and personal aspirations.

Keep it Fun!

  • Let personalities shine: Let your employees showcase their humor, quirks, and passions in the employee spotlight answers.
  • Maintain a positive tone: Ask them to focus on achievements, positive work experiences, and interesting hobbies.
  • Add a sprinkle of surprise: Include a few unexpected questions. That way those reading an employee spotlight will keep readers engaged.
best practices for creating employees spotlight questions

Examples of Employee Spotlights

There are a myriad of employee spotlights in the public space. 

For example, Seubert Insurance has a great initiative that introduces new employees to the company. They keep the introductions short and sweet, but ensure that everyone internally and outside of the company knows who they are and what they will be doing. Each of these has a 2024 employee spotlight that welcomes them to the company. For example:

Here’s a Cerkl Spotlight that introduces you to Maddy Rieman, Head of Customer Success at Cerkl. 

And there are many more where these come from. Be inspired. 

50 Employee Spotlight Question Ideas 

Our aim is to help you create employee spotlight questions. So, here are 50 fun employee spotlight questions to get you started, categorized to reveal both the professional and personal sides of your amazing team:

Career Background and Goals

  1. What initially drew you to your field, and how has that passion evolved over time?
  2. What was your dream job as a child, and how does it compare to your current role?
  3. Who has been the biggest influence on your career path, and why?
  4. What are your biggest professional goals for the next 5 years?
  5. Looking back at your career so far, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

Achievements and Contributions

  1. Can you describe a challenging project you tackled and aced? What made it so rewarding?
  2. What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned from a work experience, good or bad?
  3. What unique skill or expertise do you bring to the table that benefits the team?
  4. Have you had a chance to mentor someone at the company? How was that experience?
  5. What recent accomplishment at work has you feeling most energized?

Challenges and Overcoming Them

  1. Tell us about a time you had to overcome a significant obstacle at work. How did you approach it?
  2. Have you ever had to learn a new skill quickly to meet project demands? How did you manage?
  3. What’s your strategy for staying motivated during challenging times?
  4. Describe a situation where you had to adapt your approach to achieve success. What did you learn?
  5. How do you handle pressure or tight deadlines? Share your tips for staying calm and focused.

Personal Background and Interests

  1. What are you most passionate about outside of work?
  2. What’s your go-to way to unwind and recharge after a busy week?
  3. Do you have any hidden talents or unique hobbies? Share them with us!
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  5. What’s your favorite book/movie genre or your all-time favorite title?

Fun Facts and Quirks

  1. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever collected?
  2. What’s a fun fact about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?
  3. What’s your spirit animal, and why?
  4. You win the lottery! What’s the first thing you would do?
  5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

Company Culture Fit

  1. What’s your favorite aspect of our company culture?
  2. Describe a funny or memorable moment you’ve had with a colleague.
  3. What are you most grateful for in your role at our company?
  4. What advice would you give to someone new starting at our company?
  5. If you could come up with a company slogan, what would it be?

Bonus Questions

  1. What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
  2. Early bird or night owl?
  3. Coffee, tea, or something else entirely?
  4. What fictional character do you identify with most?
  5. If you could have lunch with any historical figure, who would it be?
  6. Dogs or cats? (The age-old question!)
  7. Beach vacation or mountain getaway?
  8. Sing in the shower? Absolutely! Never! Maybe…
  9. What’s your go-to karaoke song? (If they don’t sing karaoke, replace with “What’s a song that always gets you pumped up?”)
  10. What’s your favorite board game (or video game) and why?
  11. Can you share a childhood memory that shaped who you are today?
  12. What’s your favorite thing to cook (or order)?
  13. If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be and what would you do with it?
  14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
  15. What are you currently learning about (either professionally or personally)?
  16. Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?
  17. What historical event or invention fascinates you the most?
  18. What makes you laugh the hardest?
  19. Imagine you’re on a deserted island with unlimited resources. What would you build first?
  20. You have a time machine! Would you travel to the past or the future, and why?

What’s Next?

There’s a lot to absorb. But what can help immensely is to assess employee engagement within your organization. For this reason, we would love you to use our free employee engagement survey. If you find you aren’t succeeding in the all-important realm of employee engagement, then we’d be more than happy to do what we can to help find solutions. 

FAQ

What is an employee spotlight?

An employee spotlight is a short feature that highlights the achievements, contributions, and personality of a team member. It can take many forms including mentions on company websites and videos posted on YouTube.

What are the different ways to send employee spotlight questions?

You can send employee spotlight questions to employees via email interviews or internal surveys. If employees work on-site, you may prefer to ask a specific employee spotlight question in person. Once you have the answer, you can expand on other employee spotlight questions.

What are some spotlight questions?

Here are some spotlight question categories to get you started:
1. Career and Achievements: What inspired you to pursue your career path? Tell us about a challenging project you tackled and aced.
2. Work Style and Values: How do you stay motivated at work? What’s one thing you love about our company culture?
3. Personality and Passions: What are your hobbies outside of work? Is there a hidden talent you’d like to share?

What to include in an employee spotlight?

An employee spotlight should include the following:
– A captivating title and photo of the employee.
– The employee’s name, role, and a brief bio about their expertise.
– Answers to your chosen spotlight questions, creating a well-rounded picture of the individual.

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