Using Gallup’s Q12 Survey to Measure Employee Engagement

By: Vanessa Hurtig on May 1st, 2018

How to Ensure Accurate Findings for Greatest Impact

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership began using Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey tool to measure employee engagement in 2016. We learned about the tool when we read “The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton in 2014 and committed to it as an organization to help us understand where the engagement gaps existed.

The results are a very beneficial tool to narrow engagement discussions to address our gaps. During one of these helpful discussions on engagement, the team learned that we were not taking the assessment from a common interpretation or understanding of the questions. 

Before launching our survey for this year, Sonya Snellenberger-Holm and I decided to do a little digging with Gallup to better define and understand the questions. We held conversations with the team so that we can ensure more accurate findings. I am sharing our research and results with you in hopes that this information could be useful to you in your own endeavors.

Q12 Questions

The Q12 questions are listed in a hierarchical grouping ranging from basic needs to an employee’s growth needs. 

According to Gallup, “What the 12 elements tell us is that employees need focus, they need to be free from stress by having the right materials to do their jobs, they want to be cared about as people, and they want to be valued, appreciated, heard, trusted and challenged.”   

Let’s briefly look at them one at a time to provide additional clarity.  The additional content was found in Gallup’s Engagement Resource Guide – I highly recommend the book.

Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.

  • Employees need to know what is expected of them at work so that they can commit, deliver and focus on what matters most.

Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.

  • Nothing is more frustrating than feeling as if you want to do a good job but don’t have the right equipment to do so.
  • Hardware are tangible tools and equipment necessary to do the work.
  • Software are the systems and processes in place that maximize productivity.
  • Humanware is about appropriate staffing and the acceptable handling of equipment requests.

Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

  • People who focus on their strengths are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs.
  • “Best” from a Gallup perspective refers to using your StrengthsFinder strengths in your role every day.  While you don’t have to know your Strengths results in order to answer this question, we have found StrengthsFinder to be a significant tool in our toolbox for understanding ourselves and our team members’ contributions. Learn more about Strengths in our other blogs.

Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

  • Individuals who receive recognition and praise increase their individual productivity, boost engagement among their colleagues, are more likely to stay with their organization and received higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.

Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

  • A caring environment is one in which each person feels safe enough to experiment, to challenge, to share information and support one another.

Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.

  • Human beings cannot be successful alone. We learn more, apply what we learn faster and grow and develop all in response to others. Given this, we know that employees need a manager who encourages their development.

Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.

  • Employees want to know that their input is important and that they are making a significant contribution and a difference to the environment in which they work. This feeling creates a greater sense of inclusion among workers and reinforces their sense of self-worth.

Q08. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

  • When people believe in what their employer does and feel a connection between the work they do and their personal mission, they are more likely to stay with the organization and feel like they are an integral part of something bigger than themselves.

Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

  • All employees need to be in an environment where there is mutual trust and a respect for one another’s efforts and results because the worst performer on your team sets your team’s standards. This includes culture, individual commitment and team commitment.

Q10. I have a best friend at work.

  • This is the most controversial of the Q12 questions.  A fantastic article can be found in the Gallup Business Journal about this question. The best predictor of having higher well-being and engagement at work is not what people are doing – it’s whom they are with. Having a best friend at work significantly drives better scores on 7 of the other questions.
  • As you consider this question, ask yourself:
    • Of all my co-workers, do I identify one of them as my “best” friend at work? Not just a friend or close friend or a good friend, but one that stands out as “best” friend.
  • If you’re still having trouble, take some time to do the following exercise:
    • Make a list of qualities you associate with a best friend. This may include that they are trustworthy, you can be vulnerable with them, they are sad with you/happy with you, etc. If there is someone at work you identify as having these characteristics, that is your best friend at work.

Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

  • Feedback can help employees understand themselves better and give them clear perspective on how their contributions make a difference to the organization. Although it says “someone,” the greatest impact on this question comes from the direct supervisor or someone in your direct chain of command.

Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

  • The best teams are never quite satisfied with their work. They always strive to find better, more productive ways to work. And where there is growth, there is innovation.
  • Learn and grow is intended to be a wide lens, which could include:
    • Learned how to do my job more efficiently
    • Learned a new skill or program
    • Gained new responsibilities

Understanding the context of these questions provides greater clarity and perspective from which to answer the questions so that all employees are taking the survey from a common ground of understanding. 

Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey can help us understand and measure employee engagement, but more than that, it allows us to build an inspired, motivated team focused on our mission, growth and innovation.

In our next blog about this helpful Gallup tool, we will consider the importance of the role of managers and employees in engagement.

Want to learn more about this blog? Contact Director of Administration Vanessa Hurtig.

Categories & Tags Business InnovationTalent