The Happiness Door. Open for honest feedback!

- Practices & Exercises

Hands-on Management 3.0 leadership workshops focus on tangible practices to help managers, team leaders, middle management, and C-level executives increase employee engagement and foster transformational change within their organizations.

by Louise Brace

It seems lately the world is becoming more focused on how to be happier. Studies are being published on the happiest countries, happiest companies, happiest ways to live, happiest pets, best ways to be happy.

And hey, that’s a great thing! We love to see people happy. The world is definitely a richer place when we’re happier.

As a manager, or entrepreneur, you want to maintain a happy workforce. Employee engagement rockets when your team is happy.
There are lots of companies that  measure the happiness of their employees. That’s a great thing too! Companies are now correlating happiness with improved engagement and productivity.

There are various ways to measure employee happiness. Methods, such as surveys, indexes and regular feedback sessions, are commonly used, but sometimes these have an opposite effect. Can even destroy motivation, as they can give the impression that the feedback is about the greatness of the company, not the happiness of the employee, in which case, you’ll rarely get honest feedback and that’s what you essentially need if you want to create a happier workplace.

I once had a 1:1 feedback session with a boss and the first question he asked me was, “So, what do you think about me?” About as ineffective approach as you can get.

BilthovenA while back Jurgen Appelo was doing a management 3.0 workshop and he wanted to get some feedback from the attendees during the course, so he could improve where necessary. He created the Happiness Door.

The Happiness Door is a mix of an agile practice called the Feedback Wall and the Happiness Index. Ask your workforce, team or audience, to consider how satisfied they were during one particular session or meeting, or what their thoughts are on a particular topic or project. Ask them to note down their feedback on a post-it note and to stick it on the Happiness Door.

The higher up they position the sticky, the more positive their feedback.

You don’t have to use a door, or post-it notes. You could use a wall, window or column, whatever is accessible and visible. Some companies, who have taken up the Happiness Door, have used other types of feedback to measure happiness and engagement, such as client emails, photos, they have even drawn cartoons! The more creative you get, the more fun the exercise and the more honest the feedback,

What’s so awesome about the Happiness Door, is the fact you get feedback faster. You’re not waiting for a monthly or quarterly 1:1 review meeting, or for a survey to be filled out and assessed. Feedback on the Happiness Door is immediately actionable.

If you want to keep your finger on the office pulse, we recommend you give the Happiness Door a go. And please let us know how the experiment works out. Did you use different feedback methods, where did your team post their feedback? Send us pictures!

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