Twelve Questions that Predict Employee Retention

In First, Break All the Rules, the best-selling book chronicling two landmark Gallup Organization studies on the workplace, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman used twelve questions to predict the likelihood of someone staying with or leaving his or her employer. These twelve predictive questions are the result of over 100 million interview questions studied by Gallup.

Instructions. We’ve adapted these questions for use as a self-assessment to evaluate your own workplace satisfaction once you have completed your first six months on the job. A good discipline is to self-assess with this list annually, perhaps as something you do to prepare for an annual performance evaluation. Circle the question numbers with which you strongly agree about your own work situation.

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10. Do I have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Scoring. Count up your circled numbers. If you circled nine or more, you have a very healthy workplace in which you are likely finding a great deal of fulfillment. If you circled six or fewer, you are likely experiencing some serious reservations about the workplace.

Using the information. The first question you should ask about each uncircled question is whether or not you have any control in the situation. In other words, could you change the answer if you simply decided to take action and made a first-class effort? How about changing your attitude about things? Often times a little effort and initiative will go a long way towards correcting a perceived deficiency.

You also may want to discuss this list with your supervisor to see if changes could be made in order to improve the situation for you. Solicit his or her advice about what could be done. Both of you have too much time invested in your career to not exhaust all efforts to improve how you feel about your workplace.

This article is excerpted from the GEPA Development Guide℠, Boyer Management Group works with employers and job seekers alike to help both become more successful. For employers, we offer world-class talent acquisition and onboarding tools, training and programs, including management/leadership development training, as well as programs for new managers and supervisors. For job seekers, we offer the world’s first assessment to measure an individual’s knowledge and awareness of current and emerging career search best practices, along with the educational programs to support higher ed curriculum, career coaches and individual job seekers. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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