How Peer Coaching Can Activate Gallup’s Q12 at Your Org


March 18, 2022

If you’re an HR leader focused on employee engagement, you’re probably familiar with Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. Over 50 years of research, Gallup narrowed down the 12 key questions companies should ask employees to ensure their psychological, professional, and individual needs are met. Gallup found that when organizations met these 12 standards, turnover decreased by 43% and wellbeing increased by 66%.

Those are results we can get behind, right? While it can feel overwhelming to incorporate Gallup’s Q12 into your day-to-day strategy, it can actually be easier than you might think. Peer coaching is a simple yet powerful way to deliver on the core concepts behind Gallup Q12.

Incognito Skill-Building

Let’s break down a few of Gallup’s Employee Engagement Statements and illustrate how purpose-driven peer coaching brings them to life.

Gallup Q12 Statement #1: “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.”

Up-Front Strategy

This can be defined differently depending on the individual, which is why it is essential for managers to ask employees about their specific unique needs and be prepared to advocate for them. Additionally, invest in materials that encourage employees’ individual growth and help manage their wellbeing.

Ongoing Strategy Through Peer Coaching:

  • Develop manager skills: In peer coaching conversations, managers have the opportunity to build strong communication skills and understand how to navigate future challenging conversations.
  • Build personal ownership: Without support, employees might be unable to define their specific needs at first. Through peer coaching, they safely reflect on their workstyles and experiences. Their needs are validated by a peer, and they practice vocalizing them prior to speaking with their manager. This ensures 1-on-1s with their manager are more fulfilling and effective.
  • Create space: Having space to process stress safely with a peer protects both managers’ and employees’ wellbeing, and provides assurance that they have the support they need.

“I feel heard talking to [my peer coach] because even though we’re in completely different departments, we can share our joys and frustrations with each other and bounce off ideas. I feel motivated to achieve my goal before our next meeting.”

Manager, Tech

Gallup Q12 Statement #2: “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”

Up-Front Strategy

In today’s frenetic pace, employees are typically accustomed to conversations solely centering on productivity and day-to-day projects. Especially amidst the Great Resignation, people need to be confident their company prioritizes their wellbeing. This starts with having consistent conversations about it, and is followed by tangible actions that support these statements. This can show up in many ways; for example, normalizing schedule flexibility and supporting career development opportunities.

Ongoing Strategy Through Peer Coaching:

  • Offer permission: Giving employees permission to set time aside to connect with peers and build relationships addresses several core needs. Employees will feel less lonely, and have a safe space to process stress and have meaningful conversations. This also helps prevent burnout and increase their sense of fulfillment at work, which is the #1 reason people seek out a new job, according to Edelman.
  • Unlock personal insights: At the onset of peer coaching, employees complete a purpose profile to identify what drives their fulfillment. Having the opportunity to focus on their individual purpose sends the message that their individual needs matter apart from the company’s own purpose and needs. On-going peer coaching is designed to help employees connect their day-to-day work with what drives their fulfillment, creating ownership and deepening their commitment to their role and company.
  • Prioritize reflection: Burnout remains a top issue at most companies, so having the opportunity to process challenges with a peer who can relate, is a breath of fresh air during the chaos. They will appreciate feeling seen and they’ll be able to help each other come up with solutions together.

“It’s so great chatting with another manager that was hired around the same time as me – we are facing a lot of the same issues and it really helps get me out of fear / out of my head, and into actions that will positively impact my team.” ‍

Sr. Manager, Finance

Gallup Q12 Statement #3: “There is someone at work who encourages my development.”

Up-Front Strategy

Employees want to know that their manager, and company, are investing in their personal and professional growth as well. Having an internal advocate for their development is incredibly energizing and improves employee experience exponentially. This can be a peer, a manager, or an executive.

Ongoing Strategy Through Peer Coaching:

  • Create meaningful connection: Through connecting with a peer for guided, meaningful conversations, employees build critical leadership skills and gain validation in the impact of their contributions as a team member.
  • Invest in their networks: As they continue with peer coaching and get matched with future partners, employees will see their internal networks grow, and will have connections for future internal professional opportunities.
  • Inspire autonomy: When employees are encouraged to reflect on their individual purpose and what drives them, they can begin to own their careers and align their roles with what fulfills them.

“Seriously I love this program.  It is so useful to be able to reflect with someone in a structured but non restrictive way. Our conversations always supplement the questions posed, and sharing our experiences with one another has been so valuable.   I love the idea that we will be able to see our data over the course of time, and look back at growth and change, AND that along the way, we’ve built a friendship and a professional relationship that serves us both.”

Sr. Director, Retail

Sounds Like Magic… How Does It Work?

It is…well, you know, the kind of magic that’s powered on science. Based on years of research and expertise, Imperative matches peers across a company for regular guided coaching conversations.

Every two weeks, peers are guided through a personalized conversation that is scientifically engineered to be psychologically safe, positive, reflective, and energizing. These conversations enable employees to grow their power skills in the flow of work through practice and reflection.

During each conversation, each peer commits to one action they want to complete before they meet next, driving behavior change through commitment and accountability.  Every quarter, they’re matched with a new peer, building a boundary-spanning network.

Does It *Actually Work?

Our trailblazing clients like Zillow, Hasbro, and Boston Scientific have seen these results across their organization by using the Imperative Platform:

  • Personal Growth—78% of employees report peer coaching made them more successful
  • Deeper Connections—89% of connections created build a meaningful and sustained relationship
  • Holistic Wellbeing—Employees leave each conversation with 2.4X more positive emotions

Our mission at Imperative is to humanize work and make work more fulfilling for every person.  After 30,000 hours of peer coaching conversations, the data is in: peer coaching is the bright spot you’re looking for. Let’s chat about how we can bring this to life for your company.

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