Yesterday, @tbump and I were chatting about institutional fit and workplace engagement and we discussed the “Q12,” developed by the Gallup Organization. This list of 12 questions asks employees to take a 360 degree view of their work environment. A high score on the Q12 is indicative of their level of engagement.
As a hiring manager for my department I am often asked by candidates what it is like to work for our department. I do my best to answer the question honestly as it relates to departmental culture, mission & goals, and student trends. However, perhaps the answer lies in how our employees would answer the questions below.
Under each Q12 question I have created a question or two for you to consider. How can you increase engagement in your workplace over the next 6 months? During the next 2 weeks I will tweet out some of these questions with the hashtag #Q12 and encourage discussion about them. We would love to hear your thoughts!
12 Questions (Q12) of the Gallup Organization:
1. Do you know what is expected of you at work? When I speak with new professionals they sometimes mention that they were not given clear-cut expectations at the start of their job. More frequently I hear that expectations were initially given but never re-visited. How are you ensuring that all staff know what is expected of them throughout the year?
2. Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right? This can be especially difficult in an economic downturn but even though Student Affairs professionals are experts at doing more with less, they still require essential resources to support their work. How are you checking to ensure that staff members have their basic needs met?
3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? This is a personal question that can depend on many factors. What does “your best” look like and how can your department support this?
4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work? Conversely, have you given praise? I believe this is one of those workplace practices that spreads as everyone becomes invested in the success of the team. Who have you praised this week?
5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person? This is often felt but cannot be described. Who demonstrates care and concern for you and work?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development? This can be, but doesn’t have to be, your supervisor. How are you connecting with people at the institution to learn from and with others who can aid in your own development?
7. At work, do your opinions seem to count? Is this subjective? You bet. But we can all feel when our thoughts are being taken seriously or if they are being discarded. Even if you don’t support a co-worker’s idea/thought/statement, how can you show them that they have been heard?
8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important? I currently am employed at a mission-driven institution so these principles are affirmed often in my workplace. In what ways do you encourage your employees to view their work through the lens of their university mission and vision?
9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work? Has your department determined what a “satisfactory” and “exceptional” work product looks like? How do you build departmental commitment from day one?
10. Do you have a best friend at work? While it is not your job as an employer to ensure that everyone who works for you has friends at the university, consider what networking opportunities currently exist and share these with your staff. Are you aware of social opportunities that exist at your current institutions? Be sure to share with new staff members on a consistent basis.
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress? Regular feedback is crucial—especially for new professionals. Other than your yearly performance appraisal, how often is feedback given?
12. In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow? Does your department encourage participation above the departmental level? Are their opportunities to serve on a divisional committee, take a class, be on a search committee or develop a new initiative for the department? How are you checking in with each employee to ensure that they are feeling challenged in their work?
Because we know that high levels of engagement lead to greater workplace productivity, it is in our best interest to think about what tweaks we can employ in our current work to make sure all of the structures are in place for optimum engagement. Talk to current co-workers and get their perspective. The next time a candidate asks me about our work environment I will be better prepared to answer that question in terms of what our current employees reveal about the questions in the Q12.
Which of the Q12 questions will you commit to exploring in your own department?
Let me know!
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The Q12 items are protected by copyright of The Gallup Organization, 1992-2004.