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Today’s Big Idea— What do the most talented employees need from their workplace?

If you knew the answer to this question, you could attract the most talented players to your company, and build a world-class team.

Well, I have great news for you! The Gallup Organization spent 25 years surveying over 1 million employees across different industries to find the answer for you.

If you haven’t read First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, the book reads like an encyclopedia of research-based organizational practices. I highly recommend it.

In their first massive study (1990’s), Gallup set out to investigate the relationship between employee opinion and business performance.

A key findingkeeping talented employees is what drives business results.

During their survey, they tested 100 million different questions! Ultimately, they extracted with extreme precision, 12 questions that best predict a thriving workplace.

What are the odds that you would come up with better measures than they did?

Don’t create your own system to help your company thrive. Gallup has done the heavy lifting for you. 

The 12 Questions

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job well?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last 7 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 6 months, has someone talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Take a moment to reflect

Have you had jobs where your boss did not make it clear what you needed to do to be successful?

Or you didn’t have the resources you needed to do your job?

Or you didn’t receive regular encouragement or feedback on your performance so that you could course-correct and make sure you are doing the things your company wanted you to do?

Or you didn’t have close friends at work?

Or you didn’t feel your job really mattered for any larger purpose?

Or your workplace wasn’t really leveraging your greatest talents?

Or the people on your team didn’t care about doing quality work?

Were you able to give input into your workplace for decisions that might affect you?

Were you stagnating professionally instead of growing and developing better skills to make you successful in the future?

You can see how these questions get to the core of what we truly want from our work. It often baffles me that people don’t use the wonderful organizational research that is widely available, but now that you know, you have no excuse.

The average person spends about a third of their life at work, roughly 90,000 hours. This is why healthy workplaces are so important. Work is a big part of our lives and has a massive impact on our level of life satisfaction, which ripples out into our families and communities.

We need better workplaces to create a better future.

Ready to put this information into practice with your team?

Turn information into action

If you want to know how your team stacks up against the research, I challenge you to create a simple job survey using these questions and poll your team.

The responses you get could set your team on course to thrive, and profit, from the changes you make.

And if you are in a position of executive level leadership, Gallup concluded that the only way to improve your answers to these questions is to hire or train all your managers to focus on these questions, and then hold them accountable to them. So make sure to share this information with your management team.

You may want to survey the teams your managers lead (this may give you some really good measures of their leadership ability). Then give them feedback and use it in their individual develop plans as well.

Have a great weekend!


Suggested resources:

  1. First Break All The Rules—Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  2. 9 Lies About Work—Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
Dr. Parker Houston

Parker Houston

Dr. Parker Houston is a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified in organizational psychology. He is also certified in personal and executive coaching. Parker's personal mission is to share science-based principles of psychology and timeless spiritual practices, to help people improve the way they lead themselves, their families, and their organizations. *Opinions expressed are the author's own.
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