With more than 75 years of experience and the global reach of the foremost public opinion poll, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of the world’s citizens, employees, and customers than any other organization.

We are constantly collecting the thoughts and opinions of people worldwide, compiling information about what makes individuals happy -- and miserable -- across all aspects of their lives, including their time at work.

Through decades of relentless research, we found that an overwhelming number of people are not engaged in their jobs. As workplace engagement declines, so too do positive organizational outcomes.

Our stance on employee engagement is simple: Without the proper tools, support, partnerships, and positive work environment required to do what they do best, employees will quickly become disengaged and unhappy in their work.

Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey measures the elements of great management that positively impact those workplace needs. Managers and leaders in organizations of any size, across any industry, can use the Q12 survey to measure engagement. And they can access the growing number of developmental resources and management tools to successfully create and sustain employee engagement.

To identify the 12 elements of engagement, Gallup spent years conducting thousands of interviews at every level of various organizations, in most industries, and in several countries. Since Gallup finalized the Q12 question wording in the late 1990s, the survey has been administered to more than 25 million employees in 189 different countries and 69 languages. The questions emerged from Gallup’s pioneering research as the best predictors of employee and workgroup performance.

The data created from completed Q12 surveys are specific, relevant, and actionable for any team at any organizational level, and they are proven to affect key performance metrics. Why? Because the Q12 measures employees’ emotional engagement, which ties directly to their level of discretionary effort — their willingness to go the extra mile for their company.

Emotional engagement manifests itself in three types of employees: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.

Not engaged workers can be difficult to spot: They are not hostile or disruptive. They show up and kill time with little or no concern about customers, productivity, profitability, waste, safety, mission and purpose of the teams, or developing customers. They are thinking about lunch or their next break. They are essentially “checked out.”

Actively disengaged employees are more or less out to damage their company. They monopolize managers’ time; have more on-the-job accidents; account for more quality defects; contribute to “shrinkage” or theft; are sicker; miss more days; and quit at a higher rate than engaged employees do. Whatever the engaged do — such as solving problems, innovating, and creating new customers — the actively disengaged try to undo.

On the other hand, engaged employees are the best colleagues. They cooperate to build a team, a company, or an organization, and they are behind everything good that happens there. These employees are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work. They know the scope of their jobs and look for new and better ways to achieve outcomes. They are 100% psychologically committed to their work. And, they are the only people in an organization who create new customers.

Any employee can achieve this state in an engaging workplace. But leaders can be sure they are creating and maintaining this type of environment only if they actively measure and manage the true drivers of engagement. Gallup created and continues to test the Q12 survey to help organizations harness the power of engaged employees in the most efficient and actionable way possible.

To learn more about Gallup's employee engagement and workplace research, visit Gallup.com.