How to Measure Employee Happiness

How do you measure employee happiness?

One Version of a ‘Happy Dance’ – Photo thanks to USACE Afghanistan Engineer District-South, Flickr

At gThankYou!, we spend a lot of time writing about the importance of building a culture of respect, appreciation and employee happiness.  But how do you know if your employees are happy? And, how do you determine if your initiatives are working?

In “The Science Behind the Smile,” Harvard Business Review‘s Gardiner Morse spoke on the topic of measuring employee happiness with Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness.

How to Measure Employee Happiness –
It’s As Simple As ‘How Are You’?

It’s a lot easier to know how you are doing than you think, Gilbert told Gardiner.

“It’s what your eye doctor does when she fits you for glasses. She puts a lens in front of your eye and asks you to report your experience, and then she puts another lens up, and then another. She uses your reports as data, submits the data to scientific analysis, and designs a lens that will give you perfect vision—all on the basis of your reports of your subjective experience.

People’s real-time reports are very good approximations of their experiences, and they make it possible for us to see the world through their eyes. People may not be able to tell us how happy they were yesterday or how happy they will be tomorrow, but they can tell us how they’re feeling at the moment we ask them. ‘How are you?’ may be the world’s most frequently asked question, and nobody’s stumped by it.”

In other words, have employees rate their happiness periodically (and frequently)—first to establish a baseline, and then to measure changes after you take happiness-improvement actions.

consider measuring employee happiness daily

You could start asking “how happy are you?” every single day and do something with what you find out, suggests a Hppy Enterprise blog post, “How companies measure happiness in a creative way.”

Hppy Enterprise produces employee engagement software that rates happiness, among other attributes. Article author, Paula Alexandra Clapon says there are a myriad of ways to measure employee happiness ranging from expensive and formal to affordable and informal.

Here’s a high-tech and a low-tech example of measuring happiness according to Clapton:

High tech: Atlassian, the company developing issue-tracking system Jira, which helps 60,000 or so companies worldwide organize 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 via iPads placed at all office-building exits. Employees report their happiness level as they leave, and the results display real-time.

Low tech: London-based social business consultancy company NixonMcInnes, has a “barometer of happiness,” which involves 3 buckets and some tennis balls. Every day before leaving the office, people place a ball either in the “happy” bucket or the “unhappy one.” The next morning, someone counts them and records the results on paper. At the end of the week the data is transferred to an Excel file and published on the company’s online internal dashboard.

Helpful online tools

There are a combination of free and paid tools online to help.

The Happiness at Work Survey lets you take a snapshot of your team’s happiness at work in an instant, and it’s free.

These apps aren’t specific to the workplace, but they’re worth a look for inspiration in tracking your workplace happiness efforts:

  • mappiness is a free iPhone app that’s part of a research project at the London School of Economics measuring and tracking happiness in the UK greater environment.  Fascinating!
  • Track Your Happiness is a scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living.

For anonymous feedback from employees, check out this new tool from Happiily which helps employees track their happiness at work in real time, and helps managers understand how their actions impact their employees.

Measuring employee happiness may be a little more complicated than “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” but it doesn’t have to be rocket science either.  Have employees rate their happiness, continue to invest in ways to engage and empower workers and watch your workplace happiness soar!

For a comprehensive guide to growing a winning workplace culture of trust, respect and appreciation, download our FREE eBook: Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.

Download your FREE eBook "Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude"

 

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

5 Examples of Workplace Gratitude in Action

workplace gratitude in action - first day on the job!

This is what workplace gratitude looks like! LSUchick142 posted this photo to Flickr after her first day at a new job. (Creative Commons)

What does workplace gratitude in action look like?

Beyond the data, the research studies and advice from experts, what are companies actually doing right now to successfully show appreciation and build gratitude among employees?

We regularly scout out and highlight the best current examples of forward-thinking or compassionate workplace gratitude (see previous posts here and here).

This time around we discovered more mini-case studies of employers building gratitude, whether they’re doing it with a special one-off celebration or through years of dedication to build a vibrant workplace culture.

5 Mini-Case Studies of Workplace Gratitude

If your company’s employee appreciation program is feeling stale, read on for inspiration and ideas to rejuvenate it!

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The Health–Happiness Connection at Work

The health-happiness connection - Oprah

Photo via Celestine Chua, Flickr

Happiness makes people healthier. We all know that healthy workers are more productive, have lower absenteeism, are more present when they’re at work, and cost you less in health care insurance. And let’s face it, a happy workplace is just more pleasant. Let’s take a closer look at this powerful health-happiness connection.

Understanding The Health-Happiness Connection:
lower health care costs

At Business Insider, science reporter Jessica Orwig posted “These are the surprising ways that happiness is linked to health.” She writes:

“Science indicates that people who are optimistic may have a better chance of avoiding illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and depression.

Studies say companies pay 41% less in health care costs for happy, healthy employees.”

A Sense of Purpose Drives business success

At UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center notes, Twitter fosters a culture of happiness, founded on finding purpose in the workplace. In “Can Higher Purpose Help Your Team Survive and Thrive?” Brad Wolfe, sultan of content strategy at Delivering Happinesstalked with Niki Lustig, leader of Twitter’s learning and organizational development team.

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International Day of Happiness in the Workplace!

International Day of Happiness Poster

Share Your Happiness at #InternationalDayofHappiness!

International Day of Happiness is coming up this Friday, March 20. It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your employees and coworkers and spread happiness in your workplace.

The history of International Day of Happiness goes back just a few years, originating in a United Nations resolution adopted in 2011 that recognizes happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and calls for a “more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

In 2012, the UN created the holiday — to be held every year on March 20 — at a conference called “Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” The first official International Day of Happiness took place the following year.

Now, celebrations are coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations that includes The Huffington Post, Just Giving, Project Happiness, Mental Health Foundation, Columbia University and GNH Centre Bhutan.

International Day of Happiness in the Workplace

Workplace happiness is crucial to employee longevity, company productivity and effective customer service, yet as a 2010 Gallup study revealed, just three in 10 employees are fully engaged and happy in their jobs.

Pursuing workplace happiness as a singular goal is problematic, but as we’ve discussed here before at Celebrating Work, there are steps companies can take to build happiness among employees. (Read more: 4 Simple Ways to Improve Workplace Happiness and Secrets to Building a Happier Workplace)

Whether your company has actively been working on happiness-related goals for a while, or you’re just starting out, International Day of Happiness is the time to step back and honor where you are right now.

Worry about engagement statistics and study results later.

On Friday, celebrate what’s working for you and your coworkers here and now. Share your gratitude for each other! After all, as the International Day of Happiness website points out, “your happiness is part of something bigger.”

Resources to Help You Celebrate

That International Day of Happiness website, by the way, is an excellent resource for anyone looking to organize a workplace happiness celebration this Friday. It offers a downloadable pack of info and inspiration, ideas for taking action and a series of great posters you can print off and post around your workplace.

Even more resources are available at the Action for Happiness website. Here you’ll find links to in-depth happiness research and related news stories, information on upcoming seminars and ideas for participating online in International Day of Happiness.

Keep up-to-date with what others around the world are doing to celebrate International Day of Happiness on Twitter and Facebook. Encourage employees to share photos and words online about what’s making them happy today — it could be a fellow coworker, an interaction they had with a customer or simply feeling awesome after finishing a good project.

Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness, reflected in a Huffington Post article last year:

“It’s really inspiring to see so many people sharing photos of what really makes them happy. In a world where we’re bombarded with fake images of happiness in the adverts and the media, these more authentic pictures remind us that the best things in life aren’t material things. Above all it’s clear that our relationships and the natural world are big contributors to our happiness.”

It’s true: our relationships are big contributors to our happiness — maybe the biggest! So, on this International Day of Happiness, celebrate the relationships that make you happy at work.

For a comprehensive guide to growing a sustained workplace culture of respect, trust and appreciation, download our FREE eBook: Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.

Download your FREE eBook "Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude"

 

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Bringing the Science of Happiness to the Workplace

The Science of HappinessWe often refer to the growing body of research understanding the happiness/health connection in the workplace. Happy workers are healthier, more productive and engaged, and take fewer sick days. Happiness in the workplace also boosts your bottom line and makes you likely to stay in business longer.

Today we’ll look at the science behind those statements, and how to use that science to bring happiness to your workplace.

Understanding the Science of Happiness

Pursuit-of-Happiness.org is dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge about happiness and depression prevention. In “What is the Science of Happiness,” its website notes that while for years psychology centered on the negative—what was wrong with people— the institute has recently  seen a dramatic upsurge in scientific studies on Positive Psychology and the science of happiness. To put it simply, discovering what makes happy people happy.

“Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of well-being and happiness. The resulting discoveries are enriching the practices of counseling, clinical psychology, psychiatry and life coaching.”

happiness makes employees perform better

Let’s look at the actions happy employees take that help your business. Data from the Oxford-based iOpener Institute for People and Performance show that, compared to the unhappiest employees, the happiest employees:

  • Spend twice as much time on task
  • Have 65% more energy
  • Intend to stay in the role 4 times longer

That’s from a website post called “The Science of Happiness at Work™.” It’s also the name of the group’s research program, which began in 2005. The webpage declares:

“We believe that Happiness at Work is a mindset which enables action to maximize performance and achieve potential.”

the 5c’s identify Workplace happiness

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Celebrate Pi Day Today! – 3.1415

Pi Day

The Pi Dish Stoneware Pie Plate by Wireless

National Pi Day is today – March 14, 2015! National Pi Day celebrates the Greek letter Pi (“π”) and the mathematics number, 3.141529… National Pi Day website says it is used as a ratio of a circle’s circumference to diameter, and it is particularly helpful because it stays constant for all circles. For example, the area of a circle is πr² As tomorrow is 3/14, it matches up perfectly. Although National Pi Day is a great reason to help on your child’s latest math assignment, it is also great reason to show your gratitude towards others by sharing a pie.

Pies have been around for centuries, and are one of the most common baking items to give to others. Everyone loves pie! Why not show a little bit of gratitude towards a friend, family or co-workers tomorrow by sharing a pie? gThankYou! not only offers Turkey, Ham or Grocery Gift Certificates, but also offers Pie Gift Certificates – what could be better to celebrate this fun mathematical day?  This gift would be perfect for anyone you know to celebrate a little bit tomorrow. Pie Gift Certificates by gThankYou! can be redeemed for any brand of frozen or fresh pie, in almost any grocery store nationwide.

Help us celebrate National Pi Day by sharing pie with someone you care about! Even if you can’t buy a pie, below is a recipe for an easy apple pie you can bake at home (you could even bake it in a Pi shaped pie pan).

How do you celebrate National Pi Day every year? Let us know in the comments below!

Easy Apple Pie 

IMG_2762

My apple pie! by Kristin Kiley

Ingredients -

1 box refrigerated pie crusts
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (medium)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions -

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

  1. In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.
  2. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.
  3. Enjoy with friends and family! It’s perfect with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Happy Pi Day!

Kristin Kiley – Guest Blogger

Kristin is currently an 8th Grader in Madison, Wisconsin. An avid Math fan and baker, Pi(e) day is one of her favorite non-holidays!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Why Workplace Trust Needs To Be Sustainable

workplace trust must be sustainable

Build workplace trust to last. (Image adapted from OpenSourceWay and Kishore Nagarigari, Flickr)

Last month, Inc. published a collection of 30 quotes to inspire workplace trust.

The list of quotes, compiled by Lead From Within president and CEO Lolly Daskal, quickly gets across a core truth about trust: it is a volatile emotion.

Trust is easily won, and just as easily broken. If neglected, trust can sour to mistrust or, even worse, fear.

We live in increasingly mistrustful times. A 2014 Pew Research study found that just 19 percent of Millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31 percent of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Baby Boomers.

This is good and bad news for building workplace trust. Your younger employees may not be as quick to trust as their older peers — so you’ll have to work harder to earn their trust — but the Pew study also found they’re more optimistic.

It’s important now more than ever to build sustainable workplace trust. Since trust is so volatile, employers who want trusting employees will need to mindfully and purposefully build a culture of trust every day.

Read on for tips for building sustainable workplace trust, and to find out the common way many managers undercut employee trust without even knowing it.

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Why Workplace Optimism Builds Success

workplace optimism breeds engaged, dedicated workers

Optimistic employees are motivated, engaged and dedicated. (Photo via NYC DOT, Flickr)

Optimists get a bad rap, but the glass really is half full on the path to business success.

A growing body of research proves that workplace optimism develops happier, more dedicated, more engaged employees and acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy for success.

Optimism is linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease, better self-regulation and faster recovery from stress and an “energetic, task-focused approach” to goals.

But how does increasing workplace optimism build business success? Like all improvements to workplace culture, it requires dedication from leaders, consistent communication across the organization and positive reinforcement within the workforce.

Read on to find out why optimistic employees are happier and work harder (even in adverse circumstances), how pessimists self-sabotage, and why workplace optimism is a genesis for other positive workplace traits.

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Rethinking Employee Engagement

employee engagement makes for a happy workplaceEmployee engagement—which studies show is a critical success factor for businesses—is evolving as demographics, societal priorities, and technologies change. So does the word still fit today’s businesses or have we moved beyond engagement to something more?

Is Employee Engagement Passe?

In a Forbes article, “It’s Time To Rethink The ‘Employee Engagement’ Issue,” Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloittecites his firm’s 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research, which shows 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement urgent or important.

“When I talk with HR leaders they talk consistently about retention issues, they carefully watch their Glassdoor ratings, and businesses all over the world are trying to build an inclusive, passionate, multi-generational team,” he writes. “In fact, I believe the issue of ‘engaging people well’ is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business.”

He suggests using the word engagement limits our thinking.

“It assumes that our job is to reach out and engage people, rather than to build an organization that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun.”

Bersin posits potential changes:

“We may need to change the way we manage people (end appraisals?), change the work environment (open offices? nap rooms? ping-pong tables?), and change who we hire (are we hiring the right people for our mission, culture and values? Are we assessing well?). All these things tend to go well beyond the typical engagement survey.

Financial institutions today tell us that they are having a harder time recruiting people because they are no longer “cool” places to work. This isn’t a traditional problem of engagement, it’s one of identity, mission, and culture.”

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6 Keys to Engaging a Distributed Workforce

Engaging a Distributed Workforce

As workplaces evolve to be more distributed, learn how to stay connected and keep employees feeling valued.

Great employee engagement can be a challenge even when all workers are in one place. So how do you successfully engage a distributed workforce scattered across the country—or the globe?

As Aon Hewitt’s global engagement research—which involved 6.7 million employees representing more than 2,900 organizations—found, it’s worth the effort.  The resulting report, “Trends in Global Employee Engagement,” says:

“The companies that have a highly engaged workforce … proactively respond to the environment, competition, and changing workforce needs. They evolve, but stay true to the values that made them successful, and are well positioned for continued success in the future.”

The study identifies 3 top engagement drivers critical to success:

  • Providing career opportunities
  • Ensuring all employees understand and align with the company’s brand
  • Recognizing employees for a job well done.

That’s true of any workforce, but there are special challenges when striving to engage a distributed workforce.  A report prepared by James Ware and Charles Grantham, founders of The Work Design Collaborative, LLC, called “Connecting and Engaging Teams in a Distributed Workforce,” finds:

“a virtual explosion of distributed/mobile/flexible work across all market segments, including large organizations, small businesses, and free agents/entrepreneurs. In fact, our research suggests that fully 15% of the U.S. workforce now spends one or more days a week outside a corporate facility, and we project that number to grow beyond 25% within five years.”

Connecting and engaging distributed workforces is not mission impossible, the report says.

“It just requires some new tactics, new policies and guidelines, new technology tools, and updated HR management practices. It’s not simple, but it is certainly doable; and the payoff in increased productivity and performance makes the effort well worthwhile.”

While managing distributed employees calls for many of the same practices any good manager uses:

“To be successful, managers of distributed workers must master major and often unrecognized new behaviors and skills to ensure success.”

6 Keys to Successfully Engaging a Distributed Workforce

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