Gallup defined the employee engagement survey when it released the Gallup Q12 employee engagement survey. The twelve-question assessment is backed by industry-leading research on employee engagement, and will help you understand how engaged your employees are.

However, it’s not enough to understand where you are today. As a company leader, you need to understand where you’re going and how to get there. The Gallup Q12 is an adequate solution for measuring employee engagement, but has room to improve in helping managers actually increase employee engagement.

Where Gallup Q12 stands out

Industry-leading employee engagement research

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to understand the value of employee engagement. The report outlines the positive impact an engaged team has on company performance. It clearly defines what company metrics you can monitor to realize your return on investment for an employee engagement program.

Focus on strengths and opportunities

The Gallup Q12 survey focuses on identifying employee strengths and opportunities for improvement. This information, when paired with Gallup’s team performance kits and management workbooks, helps leaders understand how they can better influence engagement on their teams.

Management resources to increase employee engagement

The aforementioned management resources offer valuable training material for new leaders who wish to better understand employee engagement. The tools covered in these management resources help leaders maximize their impact, measure and improve team performance, and build trust among teams.

Why switch from using Gallup Q12?

Better understand individual motivation and areas of need

Gallup Q12’s survey responses are designed to be anonymous. This is incredibly common in employee engagement surveys. The rationale for this decision generally comes from a desire to mitigate the risk of discrimination, retribution, and liability for how managers handle—or don’t handle—employee responses. Additionally, people believe that employees are more likely to give truthful responses when their feedback is anonymous. However, this anonymity has its disadvantages. Organizational psychologist Roger Schwarz tells us:

If team members are reluctant to have their names associated with their responses, then you've already identified what is probably the most significant problem in your team — lack of trust.

Therefore, Insight takes a different approach. Employee feedback is attributable by default. That is, managers can see the responses for any individual on their team. While anonymous feedback may make employees feel more comfortable, there is no proof that it will make them more honest. Additionally, if an employee can not trust their manager enough to offer candid feedback, the cause of low engagement is clear.

Additionally, attributable survey responses give Insight great capabilities in analyzing feedback. Engagement action recommendations for managers are tailored to the specific needs of each employee. Managers are able to better understand why the product is recommending a specific course of action and what specific feedback led to the overall engagement score of the team. This difference drives more meaningful action from leaders who use Insight.

Accountability for leaders who need to take action

With Gallup Q12, there is no systemic solution to ensure that managers take action once they receive employee feedback. This absence of accountability creates a great risk for a company’s employee engagement efforts. Without any accountability, managers may de-prioritize their engagement efforts for other business concerns. Once this occurs, employees will recognize that little or nothing is being done with their survey feedback. This will lead to survey fatigue, making each successive survey less valuable. Employees will not spend time giving thoughtful, truthful responses to employee surveys if their managers do nothing in response.

Insight gives managers accountability through individualized action plans. A manager receives a list of engagement actions that can most positively impact each employee’s level of engagement at work. As the manager completes each action, they mark it as completed in the system. By using Insight’s web-based action plans, higher-level managers can determine whether or not lower-level managers have been completing employee engagement actions for their team members.

Pay for value provided instead of surveys conducted

Unlike many competing products, Gallup Q12’s pricing is fairly transparent. However, the Q12 predates the sales model taken by most modern employee engagement platforms. Instead of paying a certain monthly or annual amount based on your employee headcount, you pay per survey. That is, if you have 100 employees, you will pay for 100 copies of the survey each time you wish to conduct a survey. This drives companies to turn employee surveys into a special effort: one that requires specific budgeting, planning, and scheduling.

Alternatively, Insight’s pricing is based on employee headcount. You pay a fixed amount for each employee on a monthly or annual basis. You can issue as many surveys as you’d like, as frequently as you’d like. This is especially beneficial to companies who have integrated employee engagement efforts deep into their company culture. More frequent surveying or one-off surveys for newly hired employees require no additional ordering or contracts. You simply issue the surveys you need when you need them.

Leadership guidance should be integral, not an extra cost

Finally, Gallup Q12 offers multiple management resources to supplement their survey offering. These come in the form of add-on per-seat management kits, workbooks, and instructional training. While these are valuable resources, they come at an extra cost and are not a tailored, natural outcome of completing a survey. Further, these resources give you tools to increase employee engagement, but they are not tailored to the specific needs of your employees.

With Insight, leadership development resources and tailored guidance are a core component, as they should be with any employee engagement program. Therefore, the leadership guidance is included in Insight as part of the product, not tacked on at an additional cost. Additionally, Insight builds individualized action plans based on employee survey feedback. The most impactful engagement actions you can take with a person are prioritized in their plan. This helps managers understand what they can do to best support each person on their team, instead of applying generalized advice to every person and hoping for the best.