How to assess employee engagement?

There are various tools out there to evaluate employee engagement. The one I prefer is called Gallup Q12[1] Instrument which was designed to assess employees’ “perception of work characteristics or conditions” (Harter, & all, 2010, p 381).  It is made of 12 questions that assess engagement from engaged, not-engaged to actively disengage.  Each question relates to a particular aspect that managers can improve. This is the reason why I prefer this tool over many others. When analyzing employees engagement results organizations are able to determine which aspects have to be improved. For example, if employees score low on “know what is expected” the organization have to clarify roles and duties.

Each question is a hint and gives managers concrete insight on the action they should take. Here is a table of suggested strategies to improve the aspects covered by each question. It is important to consider those strategies as very generic. Each organization has to adapt the strategy to its culture and resources.

Suggested strategy
0.      “ Overall satisfaction
(accumulation of the following strategies)
1.      Know what is expected
Define roles and duties
2.      Material and equipment
Provide adequate material and equipment to perform  role and duties
3.      Do what I do best
Determine employee capacity and utilize it
4.      Recognition / praise
Develop recognition and praise
5.      Cares about me
Encourage managers to demonstrate caring to employees in the limit of the organization culture
6.      Encourages development
Encourage managers to encourage employees development
7.      Opinion counts
Encourage managers to actively listen to employees
8.      Mission  / purpose
Define organization mission and purpose to all employees
9.      Committed to quality
Encourage managers to foster quality improvement / develop quality standards
10.  Best friend
Encourage positive relationship between employees. / foster social connection
11.  Progress
Encourage managers to talk about employees progress in their work
12.  Learn and grow
Allow employees to learn and grow in their work

This type of assessment can be done yearly or bi-yearly depending on the pace of the organization evolution. This tool is a good reminder of the importance of employees to top managers and helps implement concrete change.

For more information:

Gallup (2013) The relationship between engagement at work And organizational outcomes 2012 Q12® item-level meta-analysis, Gallup, Inc. retrieved from
Harter, Schmidt, Asplund, Killham, & Agrawal,(2010) Causal Impact of Employee Work Perceptions on the Bottom Line of Organizations. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Psychological Science

[1] Gallup® and Q12® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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