If you are anything like us, you value the happiness of the team of people you work with. Ensuring everyone can grow and feels supported is essential. Fostering a safe and fun environment is key to this. However, monitoring a team’s mood and safety levels can be a challenge.
We recently held our annual work retreat. Our core team members from four countries come together to reflect, plan and get to know each other better. Understanding the sentiment of individual team members was vital. It helped us plan sessions to address concerns and explore areas of interest and opportunity.
This post shares how we used the Team Health Check, the data we captured and what that data meant to us.
Using our health check as a mood meter
We love our team. They are the people who help build, deliver and improve TeamRetro.
A health check allows us to check in with them from time to time, and over time. It provides people the opportunity to share how they feel. It’s a quick survey that lets them easily indicate how happy they are across various health dimensions.
As a Scrum Master or leader, it gives us insight into areas of concern that we want to address as a team. As a team, the data points allow people to get a sense of how everyone else is and what they can do to support as needed.
We run our health checks every quarter. It means we get a quick pulse check of the team throughout the year. It’s also far less demanding than a daily or weekly mood check.
Beyond just having a mood check, the TeamRetro health check also provides statistical insight into the data. Beyond the pretty graphs, it acts as an enabler for encouraging discussion.
How we define team happiness and safety
Every organization will define team happiness differently. For us, these dimensions cover a range of team dimensions that impact on the culture or mood of the team. In summary these are:
How much ownership someone feels they have over their task or job.
Whether or not someone feels they are delivering value that can be measured.
If their goals match those of the team and the wider company.
If conflict is minimal and communication is easy, open and smooth.
How well roles are defined and understood.
The efficient delivery of agreed outputs at the right quality.
The level of support and resources available.
Whether or not processes support or hinder workflow.
If there is engagement and fun.
We ran our team health check asynchronously over two weeks, allowing people to input their responses (happy, neutral or sad emoticons) at any time. They could also provide specific comments if they wanted to.
Keeping psychological safety in check
One of the key considerations was safety. There were a few ways we did this.
The first was to be open at meetings about the purpose of the surveys. We wanted the engagement to be high, but also honest. We made sure to let people know that they should indicate things that bother them and that it is okay. At the same time, we mentioned that we would not share comments but would follow up individually to address concerns.
We also ran the check semi-anonymously in order to build a sense of safety, giving people space to say how they feel with far less pressure. This meant that their score was anonymous, but that we could follow up on their comments to ensure they were not ignored.
Finally, the scores were discussed in aggregate and no one was pin-pointed. Unless they volunteered, there was no disclosure about individual responses, just that of the team.
Evaluating team mood data
We posted the survey on Slack, which we already integrated. Results were encouraged and reminded a few times and we had a 100% response rate.
Here’s what came out on the radar.