logo arrow
Sparks Fly!
Your spark can make a connection and that can make all the difference
December 2006
In This Issue
Sign Up
Quick Links

Good news! Now we know. The manager is the key!
The Gallup organization set out to devise a way to measure strong workplaces: places that would attract and retain the most productive employees. The ultimate goal was to determine if engaged employees drive positive business outcomes.

Although the link between positive employee opinion and business unit performance seem to be there, there has not been definitive research done that links one to the other. That is until Gallup's study across several companies and industries. In their 1998 study they entered performance data from 2,500 business units and opinion data from 105,000 employees. What they found is that employees that responded positively to the 12 questions also worked in business units with higher productivity, profit, retention and customer satisfaction.

Gallup also discovered in this study that it was the manager, not pay, benefits, perks, or a charismatic corporate leader that was the critical player in building a strong workplace. The manager was the key.

Gallup set out to find a measuring stick. A simple and accurate way to compare the strength of one workplace to another. According to Gallup, measuring the strength of a workplace can be simplified to 12 questions.
Developed by sifting through the answers of a million employees to 100 million questions, these 12 questions were found to measure the core elements needed to attract, focus, and keep the most talented employees.
Those employees that will drive positive business outcomes on four different measures; productivity, profitability, employee retention and customer satisfaction.

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? 3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what what I do best every day? 4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? 5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? 6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 7. At work, do my opinions seem to count? 8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important? 9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? 10. Do I have a best friend at work? 11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress? 12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Much of the power of these questions lies in the wording. Notice that many of the questions contain an extreme. Ex: ...best friend, ... best every day. When worded like this it is much more difficult to grade a 5 on a 5 point scale. Also notice that there are no questions on pay or benefits. It doesn't mean that they are unimportant, just that they are equally important to all employees. They are in effect the greens fees.
Every one of the 12 questions was linked to at least one of the 4 business outcomes, with most questions linked to 2 or more business outcomes.

The most consistent links (10 of 12) were to the "productivity" measure. Eight of the 12 questions showed a link to the "profitability" measure. Meaning that employees that answered these particular 8 questions more positively were also found to work in more profitable companies. When employees are truly engaged, they affect profit. Only 5 of the 12 questions linked to retention (1,2,3,5,7). As you look at the questions, you will notice that they are all directly influenced to the Manager. People leave managers, not companies. Of the 12 questions, the most powerful were those with a combination of the strongest links to the most business outcomes. With this perspective, the most powerful questions were; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Managers, to build a strong and productive workplace, securing a score of 5 on each of these 6 questions, is a great exercise. According to this study, it is the relationship with their direct report that will determine how long a good employee will remain and how productive they will be.

Again, it comes down to sparking a connection. The better managers understand and connect with the members of their team, the better employees will be at connecting with clients.

"The most motivating thing one person can do for another is to listen." Roy Moody, President, Roy Moody and Associates

To learn more about the Gallup research discussed here, please refer to the book, "First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman or contact me at 312-952-9952.


Bruce Cameron
Front Line Marketing

Email Marketing by