How happy are your teams?
Hey there 👋🏼
Today I want to talk about happiness.
If I were to ask you if you were happy, would your reply represent your emotional state over the span of weeks or months? Or would it be heavily influenced by the occurrences of the last hours or days?
Two studies come out with interesting ideas:
We tend to inflate our negative feelings in surveys, but with time and repetition, this inflation disappears - read here
Emotion determines how we perceive our world, organise our memory, and make important decisions - read here
This means two things: to have a fair assessment of the emotional state of a team or of an individual, we need to ask often to reduce the negative inflation and to even out odd emotions, both positive and negative, that inevitably occur throughout time.
So I'm here to share my way of measuring happiness levels on my teams and reports.
The idea is simple:
Ask a simple question often. If you want a simple answer, you need a simple question.
Be consistent. What you want is data that will allow you to make informed decisions.
Don't ask for explanations. The idea is to make this process as seamless as possible.
Recurrently show them the outcome. It's a shared endeavour, so share the results.
My way has been simple and has small variations between teams and individuals. Let me run you by them:
How to find the happiness level of a team:
Be clear with the team on what you are trying to measure
Ensure that the vote is anonymous (as much as you can guarantee)
Remember everyone that this is optional. If you have to force people to do this, something is immediately wrong.
At the end of every retrospective (every two weeks), ask the team to vote on the emoji that is more aligned to how they feel the last two weeks went:
😊 - Happy / Motivated / Yey
😐 - Neutral / OK
😖 - Angry / Frustrated / Sad
Don't ask questions or comment on the data. The idea is not to put the team on the spot but the exact opposite.
How to find the happiness level of an individual:
Explain what you're trying to measure and why other methods are not working.
I usually like to explain the origin of this method and how it differs from a team's perspective.
Ask them if they want to be part of this experiment. Don't assume they will. Ask!
Every 1:1, via a slack script recurrently, or at any other recurrence ask them how they feel on a 1-5 scale.
🤯 - Very Happy
😊 - Happy
😐 - OK / Neutral
😡 - Unhappy
🤬 - Very Unhappy
Once you get a reply, say thank you and nothing more. The idea is not for you to elaborate on the answers. You'll find that sometimes you'll get justifications with the answer, but the idea is not for you to chase the reasoning behind a low or high value.
The goal of this survey is consistency. In my case, I started witnessing interesting behaviours after 6-9 months.
For example, an interesting conclusion is that the timeframe to answer a yearly survey landed exactly at the same time our team was most stressed. Happiness levels were also at their worse.
According to the studies, the results of the yearly survey will be somehow skewed by the stress the teams were feeling.
Obviously, a large company can't be measuring happiness and motivation levels on a weekly or monthly basis.
But this email isn't going to a large company. This email is directed to you!
And you, within your team or area can start measuring more often than you are right now how the team feels.
So let me finish by asking the exact same question I ask on my 1:1s.
That's it from me. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and that this issue helps you find your team's happiness levels. Please share your results 😉
Ask questions often to reduce negative inflation and data value spikes
Make your questions simple to get frictionless simple answers
Consistency and Measuring are key
Share the results with the team
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Thank you for being part of my journey!
Have an incredible month! 💪🏼
Parada 👊🏼 A Leader's Mindset