Gallup's 12 employee engagement questions + 1 it forgot!

by Duncan

As a manager, you have to understand that your human resource is the key to success. No matter what type of business you are running, be it product sales or service provision, if your employees are not actively engaged in supporting your mission, you will not achieve the level of success you desire.

But what really drives employee engagement? What makes an employee commit to the organizational vision, mission and goals and sacrifice their time with family and friends to come to work and fully engage themselves every day? Here’s a hint: it’s not the salary you pay them.

For some answers, let’s look at the 12 Questions Tool included in this year’s Gallup report on employee engagement. The Tool was designed to give managers a quick analysis of where their workforce stands in regard to their level of employee engagement and the likelihood that employee happiness will translate into superior performance for their organization.


Group 1: The first two questions are considered the most critical, as they address primary employee needs. If employees don’t have these two needs met, it causes them undue stress because they are already at a significant disadvantage in being able to perform their jobs successfully. By having clear job descriptions that were developed with employee input, involving first-line supervisors on a daily basis and ensuring that all necessary equipment and materials are readily available, management will be off to an excellent start in ensuring an engaged and loyal workforce.

1. I know what is expected of me at work.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.


Group 2: The next grouping in the Tool assesses how workers contribute to the whole of the organization and are valued. This is key to building a strong system of employee engagement. If an employee does not feel that they have a significant role to play in the organization, that their work is meaningful and that they, personally, add value, they soon lose interest. This can lead to organizational apathy, at best, and disciplinary problems, at worst. Failure to recognize and properly utilize skills, lack of personal praise and disregard of opinions will quickly turn a workforce from cooperative to apathetic.As Jonny Curran says "A few words said in appreciation, especially from your superiors, can actually go a long way in boosting your morale at workplace."

3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4. In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7. At work, my opinions seem to count.


Group 3: Next the Tool assesses the “fit” between the employee and the organization. Is the employee comfortable there? Do they have a sense of belonging with like-minded individuals and teams? Considering the time people spend spend sleeping, it is very likely that the time employees spend at work is the bulk of their lives. They need to feel a strong sense of belonging to a larger social group. They want to identify strongly with the company, and if this is made easy for them, they will respond positively with increased engagement.

8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
10. I have a best friend at work.


Group 4: Finally, employees have to feel that they are going to be given opportunities to grow and develop with the company in order to remain engaged with it, and the last two questions of the Tool assess that need. There is nothing worse for an employee than the feeling of being trapped in a
dead-end job, with no chance of growth or advancement. When a company abandons an employee in this manner, disengagement occurs very quickly. Fortunately, this is easily fixed. It is easy to run employees through various skill assessments and build upon the results.

11. In the past six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12. In the past year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The forgotten 13th question


13. If I have a new idea that can help our organization, I know how to communicate it to management

But what if you administered the 12 Question Tool to your employees and they came back with negative answers? This is where employee engagement begins, and by now an astute manager should sense a 13th question hovering in the air, and it is one that is most critical to employee engagement: How does an employee surface ideas or concerns to management? How do they actually engage? Are there clear channels and mechanisms in your organization? Has organizational fear of management been removed? These are just some of the things you need to be thinking about as you go about creating an environment in your organization that is conducive to employee engagement: start with feedback from the employees themselves.

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