Tracking Team Happiness for Employee Engagement

Niko-Niko Calendar

Tracking your team’s happiness can be fun and engaging for everyone. In addition to the Happiness Door there is a second tool which replaces boring feedback or happiness surveys: It’s called the Niko-Niko Calendar.

A lot of good things come from Japan including Aikido, Ramen and the Toyota Lean Production system. The Niko-Niko Calendar also originates from Japan. It was created 2005 in Yokohama by Ms. Sachiko Kuroda at Fujitsu Software Technologies Limited.

Niko-Niko (ニコニコ), means to “smile” and that’s what it does. It helps you and your team finish the day with a smile.

How to use a Niko-Niko Calendar

All you need to do is create a grid calendar on a sheet of paper (download our PDF-template here for free) or a white board with your colleagues’ names and working days on it. At the end of each day, have the team meet in front of the board and give everyone four adhesive color dots: One for “great day”, one for “good day”, one for “bad day” and one for “horrible day”. Everyone should jot down how they feel and then explain their decision for how they rated the day. For example you could say: “I had a great day because I finished a project” or “it was a bad day because I caught a cold”. Once everyone is finished you should have something that looks like this:

Niko Niko Calendar
We got introduced to the Niko-Niko Calendar by Stefan Nüsperling, Management 3.0 Facilitator from Japan
Management 3.0 Niko Niko Calendar
A sample of the Niko-Niko Calendar filled in by the Management 3.0 team

Niko-Niko Calendar Tips

Like all Management 3.0 practices you can customize this one to meet your needs. Some teams do this in the morning, some use three levels instead of four and some people play it with their families. The best way to figure out what works for you and your colleagues is to try various iterations and keep adapting it.

When teammates share personal things that happen daily, the communication creates trust as well as empathy. The Niko-Niko Calendar also allows your team to transparently and accurately track overall happiness over time, which is definitely more fun and colourful than having piles of surveys on your desk.

Last but not least it helps you finish the day so you don’t have to carry everything home with you and keep it bottled inside. This helps you leave with a smile, which is the ideal outcome.

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