“Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky: What is Happiness?
There are many metrics that contribute to an efficient and productive workforce but the general happiness of your employees surely ranks near the top. Happy employees are less likely to consider employment elsewhere, spread positivity, lift up those around them, and are more likely to promote your company or brand throughout their daily lives. Employee happiness has even been shown to raise productivity by 37%.
Measuring something as complex and nonspecific as "how happy you are" however, is not as simple as it may seem.
Ask, then Ask Again
Our mood and, by extension, our level of happiness can and will vary over time. A person may feel stressed and under pressure on a Wednesday afternoon with a deadline looming, but feel absolutely brilliant come Friday evening. This is why it is important to ask about happiness on a regular basis and discard any outliers (or have them absorbed into a team average). Creating this continuous feedback culture inside your organisation will improve both the quality, and speed of your measurements.
Phrasing the Question
If we were to sit you down in a face-to-face meeting and ask you to "tell me how happy you are today" what would go through your mind?
Different people will react to the same question in different ways, and people will interpret the question differently. Some people may assume you are asking only about their work life, whereas other may answer without any regard to work. Some people may simply lie or avoid the question as being too personal. If you want to measure happiness in a useful, normalised way that can be averaged out across an entire team then you need to ask multiple questions.
Set The Scene
The manner in which you ask people to provide feedback about their mood can have a direct impact on the answers you receive. A formal performance review will put people under pressure and may encourage them to give dishonest answers. 121 meetings in a relatively informal setting are a much better way to build the trust required to gather an accurate measurement of a person's sentiment.
Another great way is through a short pulse surveys that can be taken at a time and place that suits the employee.
Collect The Data
However you gather your employee happiness measurements, it is important to collect the information in a normalized form. Encourage your managers to keep detailed records from their 121 meetings and ensure all feedback data is logged in a manner that will allow you to spot trends across your team and also over time. On the Acorde platform we assign each answer a score based on the metrics(s) that question was designed to measure. This is then normalized so trends can be spotted and plotted over time.
Look For Trends
The final step in the measurement process is to identify trends for actioning. If you have enough well formed data about your employees' sentiment over time you can see the effects of any action you take and adjust course accordingly.
The Lean Startup has a principle of "Build Measure Learn" for product design. By measuring the sentiment of your employees over time you can implement a similar strategy in the quest to improve and maintain it for the future.
Need Some Tools?
Acorde has an extensive set of well-researched questions in our pulse survey platform, so why not try us out today? Getting set up with Acorde couldn't be simpler and with highly competitive pricing, especially for smaller organisations the Acorde platform can save you hours of manual questionnaires and survey design. To see how easy it is to use checkout our 4 Step Guide To Acorde or sign up now