This is the second in a blog series discussing some of my findings over twenty years of conducting employee engagement debriefs and action planning, most of which was done using the Gallup Q12. This month, Q2 – ‘I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.’
When we think of the questions falling a little into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the first two questions: ‘I know what is expected of me’ and ‘I have the materials and equipment,’ fall into the basic foundation need of ‘what do I get’ from the organization: the basic biological and psychological needs necessary to work in an organization. Without these at the foundation, how can one even begin to experience the higher aspects of esteem or self-actualization on the job?
There is a ton of data on how organizations respond to each question in the Q12. Looking at the normative data on this question, your team or organization would need to score a 4.0 out of 5.0 just to be able to reach the 50th percentile of organizations – a score that is barely acceptable in a culture that is trying to keep the bar raised high. In fact, you would need to be coming close to a 4.5 out of 5.0 to be over the 75th percentile, and then in an area where this basic need has begun to be met in the eyes of your employees.
So what does it really mean to ‘have the materials and equipment’? Well, as you can imagine, basic needs like tools, computers, technology, and a safe/productive place to work are most always included. But I found it interesting how often access to information, and access to the right people who can provide the right information, or coaching, at the right time can make all the difference in some people’s eyes.
I recall the surprised reaction of many different supervisors who received feedback and the suggested action by their staff to help to improve this question. They had asked that the manager, and others on the leadership team, make themselves more available to answer questions and be a resource to help solve problems. If it wasn’t the leadership team that had the answers that they would help to support the staff in making the connection with those that did.
As a result of these suggestions surfacing during action planning sessions over and over again, the three supplemental questions that the LeaderShip at the Helm community of practice uses are:
1. I have the tools necessary to get my job done.
2. I have access to the right people to get work done.
3. I have access to the information I need to do my job.