There are countless ways to measure team happiness, some of which can lead to unhappiness within the team (measuring daily), others which are too cumbersome (completing a 30 question survey), and some that don’t really end up telling you much at all.
I measure team happiness at the end of each 2 week sprint during the retro. It’s not too long between check-in’s, nor is it too frequent. I’m not asking a lot of the team either, the whole exercise takes only a couple of minutes.
I find measuring happiness this way helps to openly surface current or potential issues quickly and provides an opportunity to address them as a team.
The Happiness Check-in
In the example below I’ve used watermelon emojis to represent a 5-point scale. My previous team was called Juicy and our team logo was a watermelon. It made sense for us to go all in on the watermelon emoji. Tailor the scale to your team. You can keep it as vanilla as you like or have more fun with it depending on your team dynamic.
The Chick-in Scale
Something I am well known for at SEEK is my ‘chick-in’. I use chicken emojis for the 5-point scale and call it a chick-in. You can’t be serious all the time, right?!
Creating the Happiness Chick-in
Step 1: Draw up a large post-it sheet with as many columns as you wish. I create a new happiness check-in each quarter so only need enough for roughly 6 sprints.
Step 2: Label the columns with the sprint number or date.
Step 3: Draw or stick your emoji scale on the left hand side and you’re ready to go.
At the start of the retro ask team members to rate their happiness for the last sprint by placing a sticker next to the corresponding emoji.
Once everyone has placed a sticker on the sheet ask them if they’d like to share a couple of words on why they were happy, sad, okay etc. You may have to share first to show your own vulnerability and set an example. If you have strong trust within the team you’ll find everyone is happy to speak honestly about how they’re feeling. If you don’t have a high level of trust in the team, open up other ways for team members to share. It could be through a 1:1 conversation, or a DM in slack. The goal should be to get the team to a place where they feel safe enough to speak openly and honestly about how they’re feeling.
If you receive a bunch of unhappy responses it’s a good idea to address it on the spot. You may wish to pull the discussion into the retro and make it the theme. At the end of the retro everyone should feel better for getting things off their chest and you should have a list of actionable items to improve team happiness during the next sprint.
Likewise, if you get a bunch of happy responses, continue the high by congratulating everyone on a great sprint and clap it out before moving onto the retro.
Hang the happiness check-in on a central wall so your team can see it each day. It’s a good reminder of where they are and also lets them know it’s front of mind and not forgotten about.
I would love to hear how you measure happiness in your teams. Let me know in the comments below.