The importance of metrics and looking past the numbers.
I’ve gotten the same email every Friday for the last three years and I open it every single time. It’s not even pretty (I love a beautiful email) but I open it and click through. Every. Single. Time.
That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s not. It’s absolutely true.
Here’s the email…
Please take 30 seconds (probably less) to fill out the Team Member Happiness survey for the week. Comments are not required.
Please remember to report on your personal level of happiness only.
That’s right. Every Friday without fail our agency asks the team “how happy are you?” Like an NPS survey, it’s a 1 (miserable) to 10 (glowing with joy) scale. And our leadership team actually looks at that number, every week. In this post, I want to walk you through this and explain why it’s so stinking awesome.
The importance of measurement
There are three things that we say constantly at MINDSCAPE, and the first thing is at the top of this page: Measure everything. And that *is* hyperbole because you can’t measure everything. If you did, you’d have no time for analysis and insight, right? But it speaks to our DNA as an agency. MINDSCAPE has always been a digital shop and has always focused on results, creating meaningful, measurable ROI. So almost everything we do *is* measurable: from pageviews to the percentage of video played.
This is not revolutionary. This is like someone telling you “sit up straight.” You’ve heard it a zillion times. But like “sit up straight”, even though you’ve heard it a million times, you’re not doing it. Well, you do it for a minute or two, and then go back to slumping. This brings me to my next point:
Measure regularly and repeatedly.
More data points make trend lines more accurate and apparent.
We’re not a huge shop. Currently, we’re around 16 people. But by those 16 data points are better than seeing a developer in the office kitchen and saying, “how’s it going, Taylor?” (That’s qualitative, and a topic for another post.) We can look at the mean (in a statistical sense) happiness level and see how it’s rising or falling over time.
Spoiler alert: Jeff Bell does not drop everything and write an email every Friday, He wrote one email and then created a HubSpot workflow that sends the email at the same time, without fail. This allows us to gather more data with less effort. That’s the beauty of automation: you have a good idea, spend some time on set up, and the machines do the boring work without complaint and without fail.
WHY you measure is everything. HOW you measure is details.
We send out the Team Member Happiness survey for a couple of reasons. First, because our leadership understands that the agency’s greatest asset is the group of smarty, experienced people who work here. Second, because keeping people happy is how you keep people. And retaining people is generally more economical than hiring for an empty seat. but the most important aspect of the Team Member Happiness survey is that it’s a gauge of our ability to take on more work. If our people are working at 110% and getting irritable, adding another project to this month’s workload is good in the short term, but terrible in the long term. (I’m pretty sure this is what the English call “penny wise and pound foolish.”)
Review and share your data.
Most big companies have them: the binders of printed information that are three inches thick and gathering dust on a shelf. (I can feel some heads nodding.) The information does no good if you don’t look at it and act on it. The key to leveraging data is to look at it regularly and use it to guide the actions you take as a business. In MINDSCAPE’s case, that might mean scheduling a project to start on the 15th instead of the 1st. (We actually have a widget on our intranet that shows the current level of happiness. I just checked and we’re running at 8.5 happiness.) So as part of your measurement process, bake in time to consistently look at your metric and use it to improve your process, your performance, or your people.
I hope you found this post useful. If you have ten seconds, let me know what you think.