Measuring Employee Happiness the Low Tech Way

Tennis ball happinessAs we develop and put in place ever more sophisticated talent management tools and systems, featuring increasingly granular tracking systems and flashy, multi-color dashboards, do you ever wonder if we’re overthinking the measurement thing?

If you do, you’ll enjoy this.

Alexander Kjerulf, who blogs as the Chief Happiness Officer, tells us about the groundbreaking technology which British social media agency Nixon McInnes put in place a while back to measure happiness in the workplace.

It consists of … wait for it … a couple of buckets and a few dozen tennis balls.

From Alexander’s post:

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Every day as employees leave work they drop a ball into either the “Happy” or “Unhappy” basket. The balls are counted and the daily and weekly results are displayed on a monitor in the ball monitor

Yup – that’s all it takes. It’s simple, so it actually gets done and it’s almost real-time because it presents daily data. An additional benefit is that it gives employees a chance to reflect every day on their happiness at work, which is also a good practice. Kudos!

So there you have it: A measurement system with real balls.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not advocating that we ditch talent management technology. There are some incredible tools out there and organizations are doing amazing things with them. I’m simply suggesting we keep our mind open to the possibility of the simple and elegant low tech solution.

From the archives of Compensation Force.

Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. She has over 20 years of experience consulting in compensation and performance management and has worked with a variety of organizations in auditing, designing and implementing executive compensation plans, base salary structures, variable and incentive compensation programs, sales compensation programs, and performance management systems.

Her clients have included public and privately held businesses, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, early stage entrepreneurial organizations and larger established companies. Ann also teaches at the University of Minnesota and Concordia University.

Contact her at


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