But wait just a moment. Can you spot what the company is doing wrong?
They found a metric they liked, and declared the battle “won.” But why didn’t they examine the missing 20 percent? Or the reasons that each employee described in their survey? Within those hundreds of surveys, employees shared their opinions and how they felt about their job – for better or for worse. Yet the company saw the much coveted “80” number and quit looking. That’s because, as we pointed out above, they were focusing on the wrong part of the survey results.
They focused more on the metric than what the metric represented.
So, what then is the better way? Pay attention to the pain-points that your employees deal with and describe in their results. Don’t simply accept an 80 percent satisfaction rating. Ask yourself why it wasn’t 100 percent satisfaction, and then dig deeper to uncover and solve the problems keeping you from a perfect score. When we do this, we will understand that even the best surveys are only effective when properly harnessed. An expertly crafted survey misinterpreted is counterproductive to a company and will only perpetuate its problems into the future since no solutions are being implemented.
Be honest when you ask these questions, and expect nothing less than honest responses in return.
Over the years, Gallup has created a list of employee satisfaction questions that dial in on the top 12 most important areas to top-performing employees. These questions are referred to by Gallup as the Q12, and outlined and discussed in detail in their book titled First, Break All The Rules. I highly recommend looking up this book, as it has proved to be extremely insightful. But now, without further ado – the top 12 questions we should ask our employees:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
If your employees answer “yes” to all of these questions, then you can be confident that your business is treating its employees correctly. Be open, be honest, and accept that all the answers will most likely not be all “yes” – just don’t stop there. Find the reasons for each answer, and act accordingly to remedy the pain points.
Clifton, Don. (2010). First, Break All The Rules. New York, NY: Gallup Press.