Measuring Employee Happiness

The black color didn’t make the homecoming dress lose the sense of cute. Do you agree with me?

There is a question that has been puzzling me for a while now (well, at least a few minutes), and that is; “How should we measure real success in the corporate office?”

No, I’m not talking the traditional financial measurements such as profit, sales or share price, just to name a few. I’m referring to the more important measures of whether an organisation has a successful culture that promotes innovation and an employee mood of happiness.

There have been many a study which has tried to chart an individual’s mood, one of the more creative ones being the “Hemline Index”. “This theory suggests that hemlines on women’s dresses rise along with stock prices. In good economies, we get such results as miniskirts (as seen in the 1960s), or in poor economic times, as shown by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, hems can drop almost overnight.”
(Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemline_index#cite_ref-1)

Other such notable indexes also include items such as laxatives and deodorants! “During a recession, laxatives go up, because people are under tremendous stress, and holding themselves back,” said Shapiro, now chief executive of SAGE, a Chicago-based consulting firm. “During a boom, deodorant sales go up, because people are out dancing around.”
(Ref: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/business/worldbusiness/19iht-19lewin.17068071.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

Now as a corporate employee that understands the protocols of “acceptable behaviour in the workplace”, I would not even consider the application of the “Hemline Index”, the “Deodorant Index”, and I’m not even going near the “Laxative Index”, but there must be some other “acceptable” measures that can be used by the organisation to highlight their success in this area? This conundrum got me thinking!

What about the following potential mood measurements in the office:

1. The Wall Bounce Chart
A line could be painted on all office walls at a constant height position of say 5 feet. Theory (according to “someone”) suggests that when a person is happy, they tend to have a bounce in their walking step. Therefore the logical next step is to measure an employee’s “walk bounce” as they sojourn around the office corridors. The higher the bounce deviation from the 5 feet benchmark reference line, the happier the employees working in that office.

2. The Coloured Attire
According to the “someone” that discovered the walking bounce indicator, another indicator of employee happiness is the colour of their clothes. Those who habitually dress in sombre black or grey clothes (besides being residents of Melbourne) are typified as being quite conservative and less known to whoop it up in the corporate office. Whereas, those adorned with colour, well, they are exhibiting all the classic signs of success and a want to let the world know of their personal satisfaction and excitement.

3. The Organic Tea Bag
When an employee is stressed, the common drink of choice is coffee or tea. However, according again to that “someone”, another important measurement of happiness is the clutter observed around the organic tea bag jar located in the office communal kitchen. Happy employees are reported to drink more organic tea and they like to woft their tea bags around in the air with a gleeful flick prior to placing them in the bin. The result is a mixture of tea bag tags randomly tossed around the kitchen and the strange odour of combined chamomile, lemon, chai and green tea fumes.

I’m sure that you can think of many more mood measurement indexes that would complement the above three ideas.

So why don’t corporate organisations list these important indexes in their annual reports, or in the monthly newsletters? May I suggest that you lobby your GM of HR to get these indexes incorporated into your company’s cultural measures of employee success? Yes, it’s just a thought to make you think that little bit differently!

That Aurafication Advantage

Businesswoman consulting a partner

I’m sure that many of you have walked into a room full of people that you don’t know and can immediately sense the atmosphere that is prevalent, whether that be positive or negative. Sometimes it can be seen in their body language, or their tone of voice, or just the way they stare at you when you interrupt the mood with that look of bewilderment, or relief that someone new and interesting has joined the group. Either way, it doesn’t take you long to know whether you should continue to walk in, or just back out graciously and say with that sincere and genuine voice, “sorry for the interruption, I think I may have the wrong room” as you lie most professionally through your teeth!

Let’s call this room atmosphere the ‘meeting aura’ or just ‘aura’ for short.
You can also experience this aura when you visit a city for the first time. I’m based in Melbourne and many visitors state that there is a unique ‘Mel-aura’ that is quickly identifiable as you traverse the city streets, similarly Sydney has its own ‘Syd-aura’, as do many other cities around the world.

Many corporate organisations have their own brand that is quite distinctive and readily noticeable when you enter their head office, or meet an employee that is a true believer of their business culture. So, what is it that creates this aura, or ‘corporate aurafication’ that is so illusive to many organisations!

To me, the key to successful ‘aurafication’ is being prepared to be different, but different in a positive and constructive way that encourages employees to want to be linked to the organisation. If their participation in the business is beneficial to them personally, then the process of ‘aurafication’ is well and truly on the way. If there is no prospect for personal growth, then the chance of a successful ‘aurafication’ will be quickly nullified and the business will become yet another one of those boring, and unimpressive companies of which there are far too many!

So in order for your company to have that well sought after aura that many employees strive to obtain, focus on creating your own unique corporate culture and thereby obtain that optimum ‘aurafication’! It might just be the start of that competitive advantage that your business is looking for at the moment?

Change Management – Coloured Breath Analysis

Sea Surface Temperature

It is common practice these days for an organisation to use various internal surveys or other methods of feedback to get an indication of the mood of their employees, particularly during a time of Change Management. These organisational pulse checks can be rather hit and miss as they are dependent upon the number of people who participate, and on the quality of the information that has been provided.

But….there could be a better way to accurately and instantaneously gain an understanding of employee sentiment via an innovative, yet to be invented process, called “coloured breath analysis”.

Consider the following……

If we could tag and classify a person’s emotional state in the office by measuring the “colour” of the air exhaled as they speak, this could be quite interesting. A “red” colour would signify that they were angry or agitated, “green” would indicate calmness, and “yellow” that they were neutral or somewhere in between the states of “red” and “green”.

Now, just imagine if these exhaled colour breath measurements could be plotted on an office location map, just like the synoptic weather map which indicates high and low barometric pressures? If so, this would provide an immediate, real-time measure of employee feeling that could be updated and reviewed on a continual basis.

Early warning signs of potential employee “cyclones”, or other impending “storms” that were brewing in the office would be readily identified so the appropriate corrective action could implemented in order to harmonise the corporate climate. It would also identify those more preferred “climatic” locations in the office which are more highly stable and have a calming influence on the surrounding areas.

Just a thought……but think of the possibilities if it existed!

The Corporate DJ

Vintage Radio

Each city in the world has a variety of radio stations blurting out their own unique brand of sound.

As a listener, we tend to move between these radio stations depending on our mood, interest and other personal needs or community objectives.

The common factor with all these radio stations is communication and the desire to be heard or listened to by an individual.

So why is it that most businesses communicate to their employees using the same repetitive “radio station” which after a while most listeners tune out from, or decide to turn off? Why don’t they mix it up and provide a variety of “radio frequencies” that suit the various listeners in their business?

The solution is the “corporate DJ” who plays a range of different music styles that are constantly changing to meet the needs of all their employees. Each “tune” can have a consistent corporate message, but the tone is different and audibly appealing to the listener.

This sounds good to me!

Mood Glasses

_gucci-designer-gg3069s-d28jj-6016-105-sunglasses-

I’ve always been of the opinion that it would be brilliant to have some glasses that change colour to reflect your mood. But, what if we reversed this idea so the colour of the glasses dictated how we felt and thought? Now this would be interesting!

To achieve the following states of thinking, let’s consider some examples of the coloured glasses that could be used:

BLUE: Innovation and Creativity
RED: Critical Thinking
GREEN: Sustainability and the Environment
PURPLE: Romantic
YELLOW: Assertive
ORANGE: Physical strength
CRACKS in the glasses: Danger and warning
OTHER COLOUR VARIATIONS: Endless possibilities!

When the wearer takes off the glasses they go back to their usual state of thinking so the effect is only temporary.

Some potential scenarios for using these coloured glasses:

Scenario 1: Blue Glasses
The objective is to initiate a brainstorming session. Those participating would all wear their BLUE glasses. All participants would be really creative…..even those who are typically rather boring!

Scenario 2: Red Glasses
The output of the brainstorming session needs to be reviewed by the team.

Scenario 3: Yellow Glasses
It is appraisal time at work and you need that extra confidence to tackle a few issues with your boss. Putting on the YELLOW glasses gives you that extra assertiveness and self belief.

Scenario 4: Orange Glasses
You are about to start a game of football and you are a little out of physical shape. You put on the ORANGE glasses and you become a peak athlete!

The next thought then becomes, what if you had RAINBOW glasses???