ByMichael A. Verespej With low unemployment and the scramble for workers, companies are trying everything from sign-on bonuses to flexible work schedules to find and retain workers. But they might be best served by having their current employees take a simple, 12-question test, says Marcus Buckingham, a senior consultant with the Gallup Organization who has spent the last 10 years on assignments to help companies find talented employees. Buckingham told senior human-resource managers at the Human Resource Planning Society forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month that companies - which were surveyed by Gallup -- that finished in the highest quartile with positive responses to the test were 50% more likely to have reduced turnover; 56% more likely to have customer loyalty; 38% more likely to have greater productivity; and 26% more likely to have greater profitability. Here are the 12 questions:
Do I know what is expected of me at work? Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? In the last seven days have I received praise or recognition for good work? Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? Is there someone at work who encourages my development? At work, do my opinions seem to count? Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important? Are my associates committed to quality work? Do I have a best friend at work? In the last six months, has someone talked with me about my progress at work? In the last year, have I had the opportunities at work to learn and grow? "The secret to success, " says Buckingham, "is finding great managers who can engage their employees to strongly agree with these values."