How to Tell if Your Team is Actually Happy

Insights for Professionals

Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Managing a team effectively relies on a number of metrics, but there's one you should care about more than any other; are they happy?

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Being a manager can often seem like a balancing act of metrics. From engagement to productivity and return on investment (ROI), there are myriad ways to measure the success of a team of professionals. But are you considering the most important one; are they actually happy?

It may seem like an airy measurement to try and focus on, but the happiness of professionals relates to every other metric you'd want to track. So how do you go about finding out whether your team is genuinely happy or not?

1. Build strong relationships

It's much easier to tell if someone is happy if you have a good working relationship. This should be built on a foundation of open communication and honesty from both sides. Managers should be setting a positive example, so even if there's bad news to deliver, it's important that you speak with staff openly, allowing them the opportunity to ask honest questions.

Having this sort of relationship with each individual team member not only increases the chances that you'll notice when something is off in their behavior, but also makes it more likely that they will approach you if they're unhappy.

2. Don't neglect 1-2-1s

When the pressure is on and everyone has a heavy workload, it can be easy to bump off one-to-one meetings with team members. However, this is one of the worst things managers can do. Not only does this suggest that your team aren't a high priority, but it also denies employees the opportunity to communicate with you, which can be incredibly detrimental. Doing this prevents you from picking up issues in the early stages, potentially risking client dissatisfaction, and breaks down the communication channel between you and the team.

Annual appraisals aren't enough to gauge the happiness of multiple individuals even if you work closely with them, so monthly meetings set aside to discuss any problems - personal or professional - are essential.

3. Use online surveys

It can be difficult for some people to be 100% honest in a face-to-face meeting with their manager, so utilize online surveys. You can set the results to be anonymous to give people the freedom to be completely honest. Of course, this will then make it difficult to specify which employees are struggling, but you can gauge the mood of the team as a whole and engage in discussions about any issues highlighted.

Asking how likely an employee is to recommend the company to a friend or family member is an effective way of measuring their loyalty. You will then want them to explain the reason behind their score. This gives you a measurable metric that you can track and work to improve, which also ties into the happiness of employees.

You can easily calculate across a team or entire department as to whether the overall score is something you want to improve or maintain. However, the most important part of online surveys is following up responses. The relationship between managers and employees will quickly deteriorate if they feel as though their opinions aren't being heard or that you're simply going through the motions.

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