Agnes Uhereczky is a consultant, podcaster and workplace transformer. She is the co-founder of the WorkLife HUB.
In this interview we chat with Kirsti Laasio, the VP for Global marketing and Business Development at HappyOrNot about the need for continuous employee feedback and what added value it brings to employees and employers. Below is a short extract from our interview with Kristi.
AU: We are at the WorkLife HUB is the official Belgian resellers of the HappyOrNot Smiley Terminals and services. Thank you for joining me for this conversation Kirsti! How do you find the Zukunft Personal 2017? What are your impressions?
KL: Our company, HappyOrNot, has been very pleased with the crowd. It is a very vivid event. We have had many interesting conversations as well. Certainly, for us the most important are the visitors, HR professionals and decision makers. From our perspective it is a lively event, especially today, on the second day of the fair, when we have met many potential clients and had great conversations about the place of HR today and in the future.
AU: Yes, we have also seen this at your conference booth. You have also placed many HappyOrNot Smiley Terminals around the entire huge fair to measure the satisfaction of the visitors. What would you say? If HR professionals are wondering around why would be important for them to start measuring employee happiness and employee engagement beyond an annual performance report?
KL: It would be important to complement the annual questionnaires with a daily, every day question about how was the work day of the employees. So, the company and its HR professionals would know when and where there are issues, successes and good days that can be celebrated. It is a daily work-life pulse meter, so users can know as a complimentary resolution, on the top of the yearly questionnaire, how the company is really doing.
HappyOrNot is a daily work-life pulse meter.
AU: Are there any fears or reticence from the employer point of view?
KL: Everything depends on how the employers communicate the results of the HappyOrNot services to their workers. If employees are involved in a transparent way, and by sharing the results, a stronger bond develops by the end of the exercise. Every employee can feel that they have responsibility towards their happiness, and it is not solely the responsibility of the employer. They recognize that they have a daily voice, which can be anonymous, from deep green to dark red. If this is communicated in the right way, with involvement and open communications, a stronger bond could develop between the management and the employees of the company. It is all about engaging people and not only asking about the satisfaction.
AU: I agree, it is a team effort, not a tool to control. It serves the interest of the company, it serves the interest of the entire workforce. If employers can find out information about the days, hours or periods of the month when something is not good, companies can go deeper in their assessment that creates a shared purpose and understanding. They'll be able to understand that it is not a tool to control. It is an honest and regular feedback giving platform.
KL: Yes. It also has a very important role in employer branding as it communicates that the employer is ready to listen to the workforce every day. For many employer it can be a good surprise that during tough times, or if there is a change initiative deployed in the company, the HappyOrNot results show certain periods of time when people are tend to be unhappy. If this results is being discussed without pointing to individuals, it can feel more like a collective effort. Certainly, this can communicate a message to the employees that they can have an influence and the company is ready to listen to its employees.
AU: Even more just having an influence, also there is a sense of feeling of trust. There is this optimistic approach to this, because you should start measuring if there is a willingness to do something about the feedback. Therefore, the basic premises is that there is already so much information, study and research to which we all can get access to, and we can start making changes.
KL: You can also pinpoint certain areas such as the work of the IT departments. With HappyOrNot you can find out how actually these individual units support the employees, how additional suppliers make employees day's easier. These areas can be surveyed and checked with the Smiley Terminals. If these areas are not making any impact some corrective actions can be put in place. When you keep doing this every day you'll see how the trends are going and as an employer you can easily go and point out fluctuations. In these developments it is key that the employees are also involved and to get their feedback and ask for proposals. Engagement is key, this process is not a one way channel, but a two-way street.
AU: HappyOrNot has been rolled out across the Globe for a number of years now. What makes it relatively special is that you have access to a lot of data by sector, industry or by the siez of companies. Do you have a favourite story, or something that stands out?
KL: HappyOrNot can be used in so many variables, such as in measuring the impact of the service industry, like in HR. Hospitals and the health care sector can be a place where people would normally does not expect the Smiley Terminals to be used. One of the common nominators is that very often when HappyOrNot is used in multiple locations people who make changes, or make decisions about the use of this services, are located in a different place compared to the actual use of the service. Thus, they sometimes decide to do things that are not necessarily happen in the ground floor. Through this daily feedback system those leaders and managers have been able to figure out some hidden questions or problems. The results can be used in a number of ways, for instance employers can get rewarded after positive developments.
AU: This can be one of the key take-aways here. You don't know what you don't know. You can not really talk about certain things and problems until you don't start measuring it. Unless you give the opportunity to bring this data and feedback out of the open. You might have preconceptions on what works in your company and what doesn't work, but this will tell employers the real truth, and highlight what actually is happening at the workforce. Take risks and put feedback mechanisms, such as HappyOrNot, in place.
You can watch the entire video here: