Words of Wisdom
We’re going to try a new thing here at the ReStockIt blog, and that’s hosting a guest to impart their smarts to us! Today we’re going to showcase an article by Verne Harnish and Sebastian Ross, so I hope you enjoy! Drop a line and let us know what you think.
A Better Way to Measure Employee Happiness
by Verne Harnish “Growth Guy” and Sebastian Ross
August 1, 2013 09:50 AM ET
Successful leaders know they need to balance the needs of employees, customers, and shareholders to build a thriving company. Many firms excel at tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) like profits, as well as customer feedback on a weekly or daily basis, but they fall flat when it comes to monitoring employees’ morale – and it shows. New research by Gallup found that 52% of American workers are not engaged in their work, while another 18% are “actively disengaged.”
THE “ULTIMATE” HAPPINESS QUESTION
Tracking employees’ happiness doesn’t have to be arduous. There are some cutting edge tools to simplify your efforts. Apple and Rackspace use the employee Net Promoter System (eNPS), a metric that is picking up traction, as Fred Reichheld, the intellectual father of NPS, mentions in his book The Ultimate Question 2.0.
Be prepared: The scores you get from your team are likely to be lower than you get from your customers on the traditional NPS. Employees tend to be tough critics – but if you’re willing to listen, they will tell you what you need to hear. At the same time, don’t obsess about your scores. The qualitative data is important, too and will help guide you and your senior leadership team on how to react to the data. If the majority of your team is very happy, and only 5% of your employees are grousing about random complaints, you may decide that it isn’t urgent to act on the negative feedback. However, if the comments you get suggest that the unhappy 5% are all concentrated in a particular job title or department, getting to the bottom of the situation may be an emergency.
TAKING A WEEKLY PULSE
Choosing a tool that will allow you to measure your team´s morale daily, weekly or at other frequent intervals will help you keep levels of engagement high. TINYPulse for example, a cloud-based service that sends out weekly survey emails, captures anonymous feedback from employees and offers tools to help management to visualize and analyze the data. When answering the “question of the week,” employees have space to add comments and suggestions. “Rotating different questions allows us to capture input around the various drivers of employee happiness and gives management more specific information to work with,” explains David Niu, founder and CEO of TINYPulse.
MAKE IT A CONVERSATION
Buuteeq is transparent about the results, even projecting them onto a wall during its weekly all-hands meeting. “Sometimes the meeting is almost exclusively about things that came up in the week’s Pulse,” says co-founder and CEO Forest Key. “It is not always easy but we talk things through and often take very specific action – ranging from switching the lunch caterer to strategic changes in our customer service processes.”No doubt, the company’s discipline in closing the loop with employees every week has encouraged employees to submit the large number of useful suggestions Buuteeq receives through the tool.
TINYPulse also allows you to comment directly on suggestions and initiate a private, forum-like dialogue with the employee, a feature that Buuteeq finds very useful. “It is definitely a great opportunity to learn and show that you care,” says Key. “These dialogues would never happen without the tool.”
A DAILY MOOD CHECK
Atlassian, an Australian software company that employs almost 600 people worldwide, created an internal app called MoodApp (great name!) for iPads and scattered them throughout their headquarters, including one to the side of the elevator. On their way out, employees answer questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “Do you think Atlassian is a fun place to work?” A question about how much feedback employees get from their managers uncovered deficits and led the company to use leadership development training to improve the situation.
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS
If your company isn’t ready to invest in software or iPads for your team, consider a lower-tech approach. Careesma, a Barcelona-based company that runs job boards across Europe and India, put up a simple bulletin board where employees can leave post-it notes with suggestions. Every week, Tania de la Paz, head of People & Values, takes the notes to the weekly staff meeting and makes sure that the management team acts on at least one issue.
Add to this feedback by looking at some KPIs such as absenteeism, attrition or tenure with the company, knowledge-sharing activities, training hours, or the number of kudos people give each other.
RESPOND TO FEEDBACK QUICKLY
Make sure that you have the management bandwidth to quickly respond to feedback you get. Gathering data is useless if you don’t act on it. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked your opinion and then seeing it ignored.