June 11, 2022
15 min read

Gallup's Q12 Employee Engagement Survey: How to Interpret It

In this article:

The Gallup Q12 questionnaire is a reliable tool for studying the level of employee engagement and can be used to conduct regular surveys in an organization at intervals of one quarter or more.

Why is the issue of employee engagement one of the most important for the company?

An engaged employee is a person who feels a psycho-emotional connection to the company and its activities. This is directly related to employee efficiency and interest in the company's success, desire to grow and develop. For the company, the involved employee is the main trigger for well-being and prosperity, and this is confirmed by numerous studies. Engaged employees experience less stress and have low levels of absenteeism.

A few “digital” facts about engagement

According to Korn Ferry, an international management consulting firm, profits for companies with high employee engagement rates are 2.5 times higher than those for companies with low engagement rates. Gallup itself says that 90% of CEOs believe that a strategy to increase employee engagement affects the success and profit of the company, but only 25% have such a strategy. Customers of companies with a high level of employee engagement are 38% more satisfied with the cooperation, and the final productivity of the company is 22% higher.

Lack of employee engagement also has hidden risks. For example, the risk of accidental leaving. About 80% of employees with low engagement are ready to change jobs if they are offered a decent alternative.

According to research by Matt Crabtree, a global business practitioner, companies with high engagement have 17% higher productivity; 20% higher sales; 70% fewer workplace accidents; 41% less absenteeism and sick leave; 59% lower staff turnover.

The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Questionnaire

Q01. Do you know exactly what results are expected of you at work?

Q02. Do you have all the resources you need to get the job done well?

Q03. Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day at your workplace?

Q04. Have you received praise or recognition for a good job in the last week?

Q05. Does your manager or any of your colleagues care about you as an individual?

Q06. Is there someone at work who encourages your professional development?

Q07. Do colleagues and management consider your professional opinion?

Q08. Do you think your company's mission/purpose is helping you to understand the importance of your work?

Q09. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?

Q10. Do you have a best friend at work?

Q11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?

Q12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

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How does Gallup Q12 help you understand the engagement situation?

The employee engagement structure, according to Gallup, is based on a hierarchy of employee development needs, and each of the 12 engagement questions corresponds to one of four levels in that hierarchy. In particular, the Gallup Q12 survey includes several categories:

1. Basic needs (Q01-Q02)

2. Personal contribution (sometimes you can find the interpretation of "manager's support") (Q03-Q06)

3. Teamwork (Q07-Q10)

4. Personal development (Q11-Q12)

Traditionally, Gallup Q12 has a scale from 1 to 5, and the result is calculated both overall (for all 12 items) and for each item separately, without conversion to a percentage scale.

1 = No

2 = Rather no than yes

3 = Undecided

4 = Rather yes than not

5 = Yes

Step-by-step analysis of results

The average answer is calculated on a five-point scale (for a specific person, for a specific question in the context of the entire company, for a specific department in the context of the entire survey)

If there are comments, they are analyzed separately

If the average is below 3.5 points, this conditionally problematic survey item is sent to work.

As a result, we have the following indicators:

  • The average level of engagement in the company
  • Average result by department / subdivision
  • The average result of the engagement of a specific employee
  • The ratio between the number of engaged and not engaged people
  • Risk areas, critically low engagement rates, and the most problematic issues.

It becomes possible to compare the Gallup results of a company within a business (if, for example, offices or representative offices in different countries) or with the results of competitors in business.

For example, let's take a look at the situation with calculating the average level of engagement in the Sales department:

There are 7 people in the department.

“Q01. Do you know what kind of results are expected of you at work? ”:

2 people answered “4”(rather yes than no)

3 people answered “3” (undecided)

2 people answered “2” (rather no than yes)

We consider the total amount of points 4 * 2 + 3 * 3 + 2 * 2 = 21.

Divide by the number of people who answered the question - 7.

We get the average level of engagement: 21/7 = 3.

The figure is below 3.5 points. This question belongs to the category requiring attention and study.

The popularity of the Gallup poll is so high that in the United States, instead of polling, they say to do a Gallup.

What situations do specialists face when analyzing the results of the Gallup questionnaire?

  • Comparison of results between departments. The most intuitive way to determine the connection between survey results and engagement is to survey at the same time in different departments. They then select the 25% of departments that score the highest on the Gallup survey, overlay the business results, and compare them to the rest of the departments.
  • A situation when different departments have noticeably lower scores on the same issue. This is a very indicative moment, which most likely objectively reflects the existing problem. For example, when several departments ranked below-average growth opportunities in a company, it could indicate a complex growth problem in the company:

1. Lack of transparent growth and promotion policies in the company.

2. Lack of the necessary information about the structure and stages of employee development in the company.

3. The directed slowdown of career growth in the company due to objective, organizational, etc. reasons.

Why are Gallup Q12 questions sometimes considered strange?

Continuing the topic of the appropriateness of the questions in Gallup Q12, HR often encounters misunderstanding, ridicule, and irritation from employees who consider some questions in the questionnaire too personal or absurd.

Let's see for what purpose they are present in Gallup Q12.

Conventionally, 12 questions can be divided into areas:

The mission of the organization and its goals.

By asking questions related to this topic, the organization wants to understand whether its interests coincide with the employee's vision, whether employee considers the company's goal is important and achievable.

Personal development, career building.

Does the employee see the paths of its growth and development in the company? Is there a sense of professional self-realization? Questions for understanding the self-positioning of an employee in the company, its vision of the future in the company.

Questions about recognition, gratitude, and value

Does the management, the nearest manager, notices the results and achievements of the employee? Is the gratitude fair, or is it completely absent? Allows you to determine if the selected system of rewards and values ​​coincides with the expectations of the staff.

Interpersonal relationships in the company

The most controversial block of questions, met with a protest in the form of "what difference does it make if I have friends at work?" Allows you to determine the relationship in the team, indirectly detect difficulties, toxic colleagues.

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What to do after receiving the results of the Gallup questionnaire?

After receiving, comparing the results by department, the next actions can be described as following:


  • understanding leaks of engagement for each employee, analysis of individual problems
  • discussion of comments in chains employee-manager-HR-top-manager

Work to improve engagement:

  • Changes in structural policies in the company - for example, more targeted information, more transparent processes, clearer rules for organizing the workplace, etc.
  • Elaboration of individual plans to improve the interaction of employees with managers and employees with a team


Regular engagement surveys to notice changes in results.

What alternatives to Gallup Q12 are available?

Questionnaire from Aon Hewitt

The engagement survey option from Aon Hewitt already includes 20 factors, systematized into 6 categories: work, people, opportunities, rewards, company practices, quality of life.

Questionnaire from LumApps

32 questions combining questions on employee satisfaction, psychological comfort, interaction with a manager, surveys regarding the vision of the situation in the future, open-ended questions (no answer options).

Version from Hay Group

Highlights key Engagement factors such as clear goals, confidence in leadership, rewards, career opportunities, respect and recognition.

As well as questionnaires from Korn Ferry, various options on The Achievers Employee Experience Platform, and combinations of the above techniques.

Conclusion: 12 Employee Engagement Survey

The Gallup organization, like the product of its research, the Gallup Q12 questionnaire, is an authoritative mechanism for measuring engagement. However, it should not be forgotten:

  • the relevance of the questions for a specific business
  • the regularity of the survey and comparison of the dynamics of the results
  • understanding of the essence and meaning of the questions by the respondents.

A qualitatively conducted survey can show the real situation with the factors of involvement in the company and coordinate efforts in the “problem areas” requiring surgical intervention.


How do you answer a Gallup Q12?

Gallup Q12 is all about considering 12 items represented by 12 questions covering them. You answer these questions with a distinct rating scale to measure and understand particular engagement situations covered within the questions. Along the way, you consider the relevance of questions to a specific business and try to get the best comprehension of the importance of each item on the list.

What is a good Gallup engagement score?

In general, a good Gallup engagement score is 50% and higher. With the recent findings indicating only an average of 35% within the United States workforce are engaged in their workplace, the number of 50% appears to be a good score. Everything below means the engagement is lagging. 

What scale do I use with the Gallup 12 questions?

The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Questionnaire is based on the 5-point Likert scale. All 12 questions correlate on a scale from 1 to 5. After all 12 areas are covered, the results are calculated collectively and individually for each time on the list. 

How does the Gallup q 12 measure productivity?

The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Questionnaire establishes a link between employee engagement and productivity. Besides, when all the 12 needs within the assessment are met, it boosts employee productivity. The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey is grounded in evidence linking engagement with productivity.

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