“Happiness” and “Work” are two words that, when put together, may form an oxymoron to some people. Even so, I’ve learned over the years that being happy at work has a meaningful impact on the overall success of a company, and ensuring your employees are happy is the key to sustained prosperity.

Here are  steps that I’ve implemented in my business to achieve just that.

Step One: Survey

If you hope to increase your company’s profit, you begin by comparing the current period’s profit with those of previous periods. Increasing company happiness is no different. You must measure and track happiness levels.

Start by asking three questions each day through an easy-to-use online form with a comment section.  Google Docs and Survey Monkey are both good tools for this.

  • In what mood did you arrive today?
  • In what mood are you leaving today?
  • On a scale of one to ten, how much did you like the tasks you did today?

I like to use the traffic light survey approach, with “super green,” “green,” “yellow” and “red” as the multiple choice answers that employees choose from. The “super green” or “green” results hold essentially the same meaning as they do on the road: keep going. A “yellow” response signifies that you need to slow down and leave it to the person to decide if there is an issue or if it has since been resolved. A “red” response signifies that you need to stop and immediately address the issue.

This quick survey becomes part of the daily routines and habits of employees. Not only does this survey give you a sense of the happiness levels in the office, but it also encourages employees to be more self-aware.

There are various ways to analyze the results. One way is to use a Google document that sends outcomes to a central location, collects the data and compiles it all in one document. This document will then be used as a comparison tool against the previous periods to be discussed openly.

In addition to this once-a-day form, a more extensive once-a-month form will enhance your knowledge of employee well-being. This monthly survey should discuss a wider variety of topics, including remuneration, employee relations, work/life balance, alignment of company goals and personal goals, etc.

Step Two: Hold an Open Forum

After collecting all of the data, it’s time for the most important part: an open discussion of the results and brainstorm of solutions. Incorporate this talk into your weekly or monnthly all-company check-ins. Ask an employee to read the results, stating averages and any good or bad comments. It’s crucial that these results are presented by somebody other than the president or boss. After all, this exercise isn’t meant as an evaluation; it’s an open discussion. You’ll build a sense a collaboration and trust if you allow employees at all levels of the organization to lead this initiative.

Remember, managers aren’t analyzing results and giving feedback. This isn’t a pass/fail exam for employees. This is an exercise with the pure intention of, as a team, being more aware of the office’s collective happiness and taking actions to increase it. Also be sure to encourage employees who wish to address concerns in private to reach out to the appropriate resources, whether that’s their manager or a human resources representative.

A monthly meeting is also a great time to discuss the results obtained from the once-a-month survey. During this more extensive discussion, you are able to go over the statistics as compared to previous months, while discussing opportunities for growth and ways to improve results for the upcoming months.

Step Three: Take Action

Once your team has discussed all of the results and explored solutions, it’s time to take action. Doing so not only helps your staff ultimately feel happier at work, but it also helps employees feel heard and part of a larger initiative. Recognize that some staff members may feel uncomfortable with some changes or new processes, and allow those employees to be heard.

In the following weeks, assess the impact of these actions based on survey results. Being able to measure the outcome of these actions provides you with conclusive results that determine if you are, in fact, increasing employee well-being, or if you need to return to the drawing board for new ideas and solutions.

If you want to improve productivity, increase motivation and enhance the flow of positivity in your company, you have to start somewhere. For me, the green-yellow-red surveys have provided my team with tangible, measurable results. Just as with anything else in business that needs to be improved, you need a benchmark—a way to know when the results are favorable or when tweaks need to be made.

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