Gallup Q12 piramid

Q12 | The most famous engagement survey

Last updated: 20 NOV 2022

The Gallup Institute is the oldest (established in 1935, USA) and one of the world's most famous public opinion research agencies. It is not a coincidence that its survey, called Q12, examining the employees' engagement, is repeated in the texts and mouths of HR consultants and managers around the world.

As the name suggests, the survey consists of twelve questions. You might say that this is a small number when we think about such a multidimensional issue as employee engagement. However, the Q12 survey includes decades of research in this area involving organizations from around the world. The questionnaire is based on the most relevant questions, which are also linked to the organisation's success. Gallup's research among multiple industries and organizations confirms that changes in management practices that increase employee satisfaction can increase the financial performance of the organization.

The base of the Q12 questionnaire is the hierarchy of the employee's developmental needs. Each question relates to one of the four aspects of this structure, which relates to Maslow's pyramid of needs.


Basic needs

Clear expectations are the base of employees' needs. According to research, consistency of the job description with the actual duties more than doubles involvement in work, reduces employee turnover, and the number of accidents at work.

When it comes to materials and equipment enabling employees to do their work, issues related to this area are the strongest work stressor. We are talking not only about physical tools but also about intangible resources. Employees can become frustrated with their managers or the company because they set goals and expectations that seem impossible to achieve.

Management support

Not being able to show your strong sides at work is one of the main reasons for quitting jobs. One of the most important strategies for managers and organizations is to empower people so they can do what they do the best at work.

Recognition in the workplace motivates, gives a sense of accomplishment, and makes employees feel appreciated for their work. Employees who do not feel valued are twice as likely to declare that they will quit their jobs within a year.

People are not numbers. They need to feel that they are treated firstly as persons and secondly as employees. Then they are more likely to share information, support each other, and experiment with new ideas.

Employees need support in managing their careers. Growth is an essential part of professional life and does not take place in an empty space. Positive motivations (provided by a manager) and development of strong sides can bring measurable benefits.


This element of engagement is extremely important and measures employees' self-esteem and contribution. Best managers create a feedback culture that makes people feel involved in a decision-making process.

It is an emotional, higher-level need. Especially for millennials, it is vital that the work they do fits into a broader scheme of meanings. It is worth making sure that the mission and values of the organization are clear and easy to understand in the context of the employees' experience.

Employees want to function in an environment where there is mutual trust and respect for the efforts of others. Otherwise, a work environment demotivates people to commit and put effort into the work.

This question is the most controversial. However, it is very accurate when it comes to the performance of the teams. If employees have a deep sense of belonging and self-confidence, they can take actions that bring great benefits to the company that they would not have taken if they did not trust each other.


It is not just an official assessment. Employees need to know how their work is perceived and what their future will be in the company.

When employees feel they are learning and developing, they work harder and more efficiently. But when they have to do the same tasks every day, without a chance to learn something new, they are rarely enthusiastic about their work.

After measuring employees' engagement with the survey, it's worth starting an action plan implementation that will ensure the success of your team. The purpose of the engagement survey is not just to ask employees to complete the survey. The goal is to start a dialogue between managers and employees, and next build an environment where employees feel they are a part of the organization. This tool allows employees to communicate their needs and provides information for the managers on what points they should work on. It is a good practice to conduct employee engagement surveys regularly (min. once a year). This allows you to monitor the health of the organization and identify alarming and undesirable events in advance.

author: Wowka Sapko

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