Today, engagement surveys are a popular way to assess and measure what I’ll call a given company’s HYPE factor, where HYPE stands for “Happiness Yields Productive Employees.”

While these surveys are helpful in identifying trends and areas of strength as well as opportunity across all layers and levels, follow-up that is actionable and intentional is even more important.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the roll-out of these initiatives, the oomph of the goal sometime loses steam. People get busy. Projects are due. Ecetera. Ultimately, companies may have the data, but they fail to build a plan to address what the data presents.

Quite honestly, that’s the hardest part. Building the plan and putting it into action. Action and intention become the differentiators between impact and status quo.

Here are two ways you can figure out if your people are happy:

No. 1 If the company has engagement survey results and you can get access to them (usually from the CHRO or equivalent), interpret the findings yourself and build a plan of attack.

Most vendors these days slice and dice the information pretty well for you. Using this info, write down three SMARTe goals that you think will help make your people happier. Check in with yourself regularly (once a week minimum) to document your progress.

What’s working? What’s not? What has changed, good/bad? The key is seeing where the behaviors are different and making sure you understand why, so you can replicate and apply to other areas as relevant.

**Even if you have access to this info, you can still go through the following exercise to get more personally relevant data from the source: your people.**

No. 2 If no such info exists, or you can’t get access to it, build a simple rating system yourself. Make a list of each of your team members and rate them 1-10 based on how happy you think they are at work.

It’s a loaded question so I’d suggest focusing on job satisfaction since the job is fundamentally how they are contributing to the team. Write down some examples of what helped you come up with this number.

Then, have a 5-10 minute chat with each member, and ask them how they would rate themselves on the scale. And have a dialogue about it.

Why did you pick that number? What are some examples of times that made you feel this way about your role? How do I affect that number? What do you need to improve your happiness at work?

Take notes. Chances are you’ll get way more context 1:1 than a survey can provide. After you’ve met with everyone, try to identify common words or themes, anything that sticks out as consistent to you. Then write down your three SMARTe goals and proceed as with No. 1.

Part of this is trial and error – you have to try different things to have the information to make your decisions on. It’s a feedback spiral in that way.

To see results, you need to be consistent and intentional with your approach to understanding what makes your people happy. Whether is through a formal company survey or self-initiated, the key is to follow-up regularly in actionable and intentional ways.

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