Management 3.0 Module: Happiness Door

How do you know if your team is happy?

“As you said in your video, using the technique does itself make people feel happier. Another good effect is that whoever is running the meeting feels that he needs to keep it running smoothly because he is conscious he is going to be rated at the end of the meeting. Even some of the team members who generally dislike anything to do with how people feel (I call them the anti-empathizers) felt that the meeting went better than usual and rated it accordingly.I think we are likely to keep using a Happiness Board at the end of our meetings and I would like to thank you for publicizing your good idea.” – TONY JAMES, software engineer, ETAS embedded systems consulting

Bilthoven-happiness-doorThere are offices that measure the happiness of their employees and there are others who work to enhance the happiness of their workers. These are not always the same ones. We know of some offices that measure happiness and job satisfaction via a highly detailed monthly survey, while others ask it during the annual performance appraisal. Neither are successful for getting a pulse on their organization nor for appropriate performance management.

Taking from the agile management practice of the Feedback Wall and mixing it with the Happiness Index, the Happiness Door brings together team collaboration, employee engagement, and open and honest feedback. Like the Feedback Wall, the Happiness Door really is often just Post-Its with feedback written on them, and, like the Happiness Index, it assumes that people can act as the best gauge of their own happiness level.

At Management 3.0 events, our Happiness Door can be on any visible space where people give feedback in three groupings: things that make attendees happy, things they feel neutral about and things they didn’t like. It can be as general as a thanks to as specific as why or why not they didn’t like a certain exercise.

All feedback shared on the Happiness Door is anonymous yet publicly made. It can be about a certain topic or project – in which the people who post first will inevitably affect others’ feedback – or it can be a long-term, ongoing feedback gathering. It’s often on a door because it gives people to more freely post as they are entering or exiting, as well as it’s a place everyone passes regularly.

And it doesn’t have to be Post-Its or written at all. Some more creative companies we know take pics, cartoon or print emails from clients. Get as creative as you want, so long as you encourage open and honest feedback.

Why not just make the Happiness Door about positive thoughts? Because collective happiness and collaboration comes from being able to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And how else could we all improve on things without specific feedback?

More Happiness Door tips & case stories:

Check out our Leadership Resource Hub to learn about all the Management 3.0 practices. Also don’t forget to order your copy of Managing for Happiness to learn so much more about how to spread happiness at work!

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