“What do we know to be important but are unable to measure”
Admiral Clowdisley Shovell miscalculated his position in the
Atlantic and smashed into rocks near the coast of England. The rest of the
fleet was following blindly behind, and ended up a similar fate. About two
thousand lives were lost that day.
Disaster was due to unable to accurately measure longitude
even though the concept had been around for centuries. The admiral lacked the
ability to measure something that he already knew to be extremely important. We
can relate this to today’s world of management and keeping talent. How do we
find, and retain talent in today’s world of knowledge workers? How do you
measure human capital? The Gallop Organization, through extensive surveying
found the following 12 questions, if asked and answered with an astounding yes,
can show there is a strong workplace, and one that people want to work and stay
Do I know what is expected of me at work?
Do I have the materials and equipment I need to
do my work right?
At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do
best every day?
In the last seven days, have I received
recognition or praise for doing 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
At work, do my opinions seem to count?
Does the mission/purpose of my company make me
feel my job is important?
Are my co-workers committed to doing quality
Do I have a best friend at work?
In the last six months, has someone at work
talked to me about my progress?
This last year, have I had the opportunities at
work to learn and grow?
It is the manager’s job to make sure all employees answer all
of the above 12 questions with a strong yes. If everyone answers yes, it is
very likely that the company has a strong workplace and is capable of
attracting and keeping top performers at all levels of the company.
One interesting aspect is the lack of questions based on
pay, management, organizational structure, or other benefits employees receive.
This is done because all employees care about pay and benefits and whether a
company has a strong workplace or not, pay will not make or break it. The book
talks about how a workplace with only low-performing employees with amazing
benefits could fare well on a survey about how great a workplace is or best
place to work. However it is important to have benefits that reflect the market