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.

The Science Behind Happiness Measurement

Understanding the intricate relationship between happiness and productivity is not just an art; it’s a science. Recent studies have illuminated the profound impact of psychological safety on employee happiness, productivity, and creativity. Psychological safety, a term gaining traction in organizational psychology, refers to an environment where employees feel valued and safe to express ideas without fear of negative consequences. This environment fosters not only a happier workforce but also one that is more innovative and engaged. By integrating methods to enhance psychological safety, companies can unlock the full potential of their employees, leading to unprecedented levels of innovation and productivity. For a deeper dive into the science of happiness and its implications for the workplace, consider exploring Hitachi Ltd.’s Happiness Planet project, which has made significant strides in quantifying the elements that contribute to a productive and positive work environment.

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.

Enhancing Employee Happiness Through Self-Evaluation

The cornerstone of any effective happiness measurement strategy is self-evaluation. As highlighted by Happyforce’s approach, self-evaluation empowers employees to reflect on their own feelings and experiences, providing the most accurate gauge of happiness. This method respects the subjective nature of happiness and acknowledges that individuals are the best judges of their own emotional states. Frequent self-evaluation not only captures the dynamic nature of happiness but also encourages employees to become more mindful of their well-being. Implementing regular self-evaluation can be as simple as adopting digital tools or as straightforward as encouraging reflective practices among team members. For organizations looking to adopt this method, Happyforce’s insights into measuring happiness could serve as a valuable resource.

The Role of Customer Happiness in Employee Satisfaction

While the focus is often on employee happiness, it’s crucial to recognize the symbiotic relationship between customer happiness and employee satisfaction. Happy customers contribute to a positive work environment, reinforcing employees’ sense of purpose and achievement. Conversely, satisfied employees are more likely to provide exceptional service, creating a cycle of positivity that benefits all stakeholders. Companies like ContactMonkey emphasize the importance of distinguishing between employee happiness, engagement, and satisfaction, suggesting that a holistic approach to measuring these aspects can significantly impact customer retention and overall business success. For businesses seeking to enhance both customer and employee happiness, exploring strategies to measure and improve customer satisfaction can offer insightful parallels and actionable tactics.

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