Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Findings
After one year of work, 70% of U.S employees feels they are not engaged at work. To be exact, only a sheer 33% of employees are actively engaged, 49% not engaged, and 18% actively disengaged. This study emerges from arguably the most comprehensive research from the foremost consulting firm Gallup Organization. In order to find the right questions, they fundamentally focused on how great managers inspire top performance in employees. How do they generate passion, unite disparate personalities to focus on a common purpose, and propel teams to achieve ever-higher goals?
With this question, Gallup embarked on decades long journey including more than 10 million employee and manager interviews spanning 114 countries and conducted in 41 languages. The results of this is a book called 12: Elements of Great Managing. In essence, the book distills 12 elements that has the most impact on the bottom line.
I hope you’ll find the insights below helpful in your role as a manager and employee. If you are interested to explore more of the 12 elements, Gallup Management Journal has created a website with stories and insights into each one. Please click here for more information.
Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.
Gallup’s research shows that many great workplaces have defined the right outcomes; they set goals for their team members or work with them to set their own goals. They do not just define the job but define success on the job. For team members to be aware of their expectations, they should have a way to rank, rate, or count as many of the desired outcomes as possible. Also, these measures of performance should fit with what the rest of the organization is saying and doing.
Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
Based on Gallup’s extensive research, great managers find out what people need in the way of materials and equipment; place the responsibility for this on the team members; and make sure team members know how to earn the right to certain materials and equipment. A great way for team members to increase their responsiveness to this question is to determine what “materials and equipment” means to them. Sometimes they are referring to accessibility of information, rather than specifically to materials and equipment
Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
For this item, it is important to keep each team member’s talents in mind, to build relationships, and to help others identify their unique talents. It is vital that every individual understands his or her strengths and weaknesses. A good way of promoting this is to discuss what each person believes his or her leading strengths are, in terms of skills, knowledge, and innate talents. Writing these strengths down often helps.
Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
Workplaces that excelled in this question relied on forms of recognition that are specific, predictable, frequent, and instantaneous. They are known to promote a recognition-rich environment, with praise coming from every direction, and with everyone knowing how others like to be recognized. Many wonder how often people should be praised, but a good rule of thumb is about once a week. If this seems too often, consider why frequent praise is so important. Whenever a person does something, there are consequences. Those consequences will affect whether team members engage in that behavior again. We know that to get the results or consequences we want, frequent praise can encourage the behavior that produces it.
Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Remember, people leave managers, not companies. A productive workplace is one in which people feel safe — safe enough to experiment, to challenge, to share information, to support each other, and where the team members are prepared to give the manager and the organization the “benefit of the doubt.” None of this can happen if team members do not feel cared about. Relationships are the glue that holds great workplaces together.
Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
In this case, “development” does not mean getting people promoted. It does not mean each team member gets what he or she wants. It means helping individuals find roles that fit their natural strengths: their unique combinations of skills, knowledge, and talent. Previous Gallup findings have concluded that workgroups that receive high scores on this particular item do not try to put in what was left out, but rather, try to draw out what was left in; they provide constant feedback; and they find creative developmental opportunities for each other.
Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.
Team members who give high scores on this item feel they have access to channels of communication across different levels or divisions of the organization, and their managers work to maintain those channels. Groups do not function very well when the team members in them feel insignificant or irrelevant. Managers ask team members for their opinions and include their ideas in the decision-making process whenever possible. This means everyone should have a chance to express his or her
Q08. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
This question measures a key source of motivation for team members — the idea that their organization represents values that they themselves share. Effective workplaces cultivate that feeling, including providing constant clarification of the overall mission of the organization, as well as the ways in which each individual team member contributes to the achievement of the mission. As human beings, we like to feel as though we belong. Individual achievement is great, but we are likely to stay committed longer if we feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
Workgroups that score well on this question tend to be good at providing clear quality standards and keeping those standards at the forefront of team members’ minds. Thus, team members are capable of accurately evaluating their own performance, as well as that of their teammates. Clear communication of standards enhances accountability and builds trust among coworkers. We also know that not everyone will see “quality” in the same way if everyone’s concept of the word is different. To remedy this, having a clear definition helps. The best place to start is with customers, both internal and external.
Q10. I have a best friend at work.
I have a best friend at work” is really a proxy for trust. We are interested only in whether there is a person at work whom you would consider a best friend “at work”. Think about people whom you would consider “best friends.” People with whom you share values, you can trust, and who are watching out for you. You are going to feel more confident in making decisions, taking risks, and being more productive because you don’t have to spend a lot of time watching your back. Chances are, you’re going to feel like there is more open communication within your team
Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
One of Gallup’s most consistent research findings has been that feedback improves performance. High-scoring groups establish structured feedback processes for their team members, which include clearly defining goals and achievement levels, and then meeting regularly with each team member to track his or her progress toward those goals. We realize that we all need feedback to know how far we have come. We need signs to track our progress.
Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Engaged team members need to feel that their job contributes in some way to their professional or personal development. Great workplaces are those in which team members are provided with educational opportunities that address their development — this may include formal classes or simply finding new experiences for them to take on. Each team member will define “opportunities” differently. For some team members, this may mean training classes and seminars; for others, this means promotions and increased responsibilities; and for others, this might mean working on special projects or assignments.