Getting Engaged


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Big-city high-rises often have exercise/pool areas that rival the best-equipped health clubs. I like to use the one in my building as a study. Late one evening, relaxing in the hot tub after a day of constant business activity, I was joined by two young professionals who were having a discussion – actually a debate – on the topic of ‘engagement’* surveys. One is a psych major turned HR manager and the other a product manager with a degree in marketing. I’m going to call them ‘Psych’ and ‘Product.’

Psych was asking Product if he could get her a copy of the Gallup Q12 – a set of questions that test for employee engagement so she could use it to survey people in her company. Product pointed out that the Q12 is copyrighted material, and went on to lecture Psych about the value of such attitude surveys – or more accurately, the lack thereof. He must have taken great notes in class. He cited chapter and verse from product marketing literature, summing it up by stating categorically that although people might give you rave reviews, if they aren’t buying your product, who cares?

Psych was not convinced. She had been given an assignment by her boss, and was determined to follow through. I felt sorry for her.

If you are – or know – someone who feels compelled to measure engagement, especially if the assignment has career-altering consequences, here’s a set of questions that you can offer without exposing them to copyright infringement litigation. Why am I doing this? Well, I’ve done 30 years of study and research on what makes great teams great, and I know there is a big difference between a person’s attitude about their place on a team (their level of engagement, if you will) and the underlying factors that influence ‘teaming’ behavior. The former will tell you about existing conditions. The latter will tell you why, and what you can do about it, thereby bridging the gap between attitudes and business results. (see

Here are my survey questions. Tell people to rank them on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). (If you want to credit me and send a link to your results, even better.)

The ‘Teamability® 7’:

  1. I know the vision, purpose, and/or goal for everything I do at work.
  2. When problems arise – of any kind – they are usually resolved in a reasonable and efficient way.
  3. My job responsibilities are aligned with my desire to serve my team and my organization.
  4. I get respect and recognition from others in a manner that is meaningful to me.
  5. My manager ‘gets’ me – consistently listens to me, values me, and encourages me to grow.
  6. My coworkers feel like a real team to me. We share the load, we support each other, we have fun together, and we get the job done.
  7. I may not have the most important job in the company, but I know that I make a significant contribution.

I’m sure you know what you want, so I don’t have to tell you the ‘right’ answers.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering what happened between the two young professionals in the hot tub…

I just heard they are getting engaged.

* An “engaged employee” is described, variously, as one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his or her work; who acts in a way that furthers the organization’s interests; who will ‘go the extra mile’ for colleagues and customers.

Dr. Janice Presser
Dr. Janice Presser is a behavioral scientist, CEO of The Gabriel Institute, thought leader in talent science, author of six books on teams, and architect of Teamability® , the completely new 'technology of teaming'. Launched in 2012, the technology caps a quarter-century of behavioral science R&D, including nine years of software development. Engineered to identify and organize the foundational elements of team activity and team management, Teamability produces true analytics of team chemistry, and delives practical, repeatable business benefits.