How companies measure happiness in a creative way

There are many way to measure employee happiness. Some are very formal and some less. Depending on the size of your organization you might be more inclined to use one way or another. You could conduct formal quarterly or yearly surveys and apply a couple of well-designed studies.

That is a fine way to do it if you want to spend tens of thousands  of dollars dealing with consultants to setup the questionnaires, collect the results, analyze and interpret them. By you time you get the answers the context is probably (at least slightly) changed.

Or you could be brave and do something truly courageous. Start asking the big question ‘how happy are you?’ every single day and do something with what you find out!

Look at Atlassian, the company developing Jira, a great issue tracking systems, which helps some 60.000 companies around the world organize their projects. They realized pretty soon that its success is deeply linked with its ability to attract and keep the best software engineers. If developers are not happy with what they are doing competitors will snatch them up in no time.

Atlassian measures employee happiness every day. They’ve placed iPads at the exit of all office building and are using them to display the real time status of the company. Employees are asked just one question, every day. Feedback from employees is frictionless and results are shown in real time.

This allows senior management to intervene when the general mood of the company is declining. If you think about it, this could pretty soon mean the end of middle management.

You could also go low tech and do this on paper. We came across a post by Sami Inkinen, co-founder and board member of the leading online real estate company Trulia and a triathlon world champion, who is sharing some interesting results on his blog.

Another option would be to combine the physical measuring method with the virtual/technical one. Here’s the example of one social business consultancy company in London, NixonMcInnes, which implemented a rather interesting “barometer of happiness” as they call it.

So how did they do it? By using 3 buckets and a couple of tennis balls; every day before leaving the office the people would place a ball either in the happy bucket or the unhappy one, depending on their state of spirit. The next morning, someone would count them and write down the results on a sheet of paper; at the end of the week the data would be transferred in an Excel file.

To top it off and have a global image on the situation, accessible to everyone from the company, the data would be processed and published on the internal dashboard.

What are some creative examples you’ve stumbled upon?

Download the eBook and find out what makes people happy to go to work every day and give their best, with real answers from employees across the world.

Image via under C.C.0 license