As the economy starts to recover there are risks that new tensions might
emerge between employers and employees stemming from disagreements
over what are acceptable working conditions. Ideological differences
over hybrid work and productivity threaten to disrupt otherwise stable
As employers everywhere seek to understand their workplaces better, they
look at different measures like ‘engagement’ to do the job. Yet, we’re
adamant that engagement is a poor metric for a period that requires
increasing nuance in understanding the wellbeing and productivity needs
The future of people metrics is the Happiness KPI™.
Based on 25 years of research, the Happiness KPI™ draws upon data
insights from over 1,000 organizations to measure and improve happiness
at work. More importantly, it taps into the power of positive emotions
that can create organizations with high levels of initiative,
innovation, loyalty, productivity and creativity.
By asking “How are you feeling at work this week?” the Happiness
KPI™ highlights how every team in the organization is performing. The
weekly happiness score — out of 100 — creates a powerful people metric
helping to monitor and track wellbeing across the organization, and
capture employees’ experience of work.
Today, we’re excited to share a new whitepaper about the Happiness KPI™.
This article is a sneak peek into what the paper holds: the future of
employee metrics, the business case for happiness, and the science
behind the Happiness KPI™. It’s also a guide on how you can actively
build and sustain happiness within your company.
What is the future of employee engagement?
A happy employee is an engaged employee. But an engaged employee is
not necessarily a happy employee. There’s a fundamental flaw in asking
about engagement. No one can really answer the question, “How engaged
are you at work?” There’s always layers of ambiguity for employees to
sift through in answering the question.
Engagement can mean any number of metrics perceived to increase
performance and productivity — efficiency, satisfaction, work hours —
but ultimately doesn’t deliver a simple measure. It’s useful for
management, but not for employees. As a result, the question itself
won’t deliver a clear and simple measure.
Further, the adoption of engagement as a metric is a red flag or an eye
roll for employees. There are few things that sound as corporate and
impersonal as engagement. Engagement conveys an arm’s length
relationship that sounds extractive. At best, it sounds like the only
thing an organization wants out of its people is getting ‘more’ from
them. This is demoralizing for employees that may feel like they’re
already giving a lot.
Why happiness is more engaging than engagement
Happiness, on the other hand is a concept with which everyone can
relate. It’s a natural good/bad signal. When an organization focuses on
happiness, it builds trust with their employees, signaling that they are
interested in the individual, not just what they can produce. In the
question “How happy were you at work this week?” happiness replaces
the vagueness of engagement with something everyone can answer clearly.
Beyond the elegant simplicity of the question, we ground happiness in a
methodology that converts emotions into tangible data. At Friday Pulse,
we employ a technique called “episodal measurement” for measuring
employee happiness because it creates a simple, time series that
captures the dynamic nature of our experience of work. And, the working
week is the most natural and relatable episode of work, with the week’s
end a natural time to reflect back on how the week has gone.
Asking about happiness on a weekly basis also gives employees a voice,
more so than a yearly or monthly survey can provide. It provides an
opportunity to speak up and provide honest answers. And, the weekly data
is not only easy to gather, it’s also incredibly easy to understand and
Good leaders review the data every week, allowing them to identify the
opportunities to take meaningful action. This makes employees feel heard
and builds trust.
The Happiness KPI™ helps organizations recover from setbacks
The onset of COVID-19 highlighted the strengths of the Happiness
KPI™. As Julia Hasenthal, Founder & CEO of ProSearch Strategies
comments, “Other CEOs can only guess at how the pandemic has impacted
their employees. Yet, I know the impact because we track employee
experience every week. We’ve been able to act on the weekly data, and
it’s helped us navigate our way through the crisis.”
The Happiness KPI™ has shown our clients how their people experienced
the pandemic on a week-by-week basis. This depth and nuance allowed
leaders to intervene where necessary and ease burdens when needed. This,
ultimately, led to faster rebounds and navigating a stronger way through
The graph above highlights how Friday Pulse clients faced an 18% drop in
weekly happiness scores, compared to 30% reported by UK white-collar
workers. Yet, within 3 weeks they experienced a return to 90% of their
pre-pandemic scores and end of year happiness levels were 20% higher
with 47 weeks at (or above) 90% of their pre-pandemic happiness levels
(compared to 20 weeks). In short, they bounced back 4x quicker from the
first wave and completely avoided the second.
How can the Happiness KPI™ transform your organization?
Change in any organization is always challenging. However, starting at
the team level creates a real engine for positive change. The data from
Friday Pulse’s Happiness KPI™ provides support to leaders to unlock the
potential of their teams. To learn more, download our Happiness KPI
As a pioneer in workplace happiness, Friday Pulse has also created a
framework called The Five Ways to Happiness at Work. Based on 25 years
of original research, this in-depth quarterly data complements the
weekly Happiness KPI™ and demystifies company cultures by profiling what
organizations need to focus on each quarter.
And, we want to help your organization become a better place. For more
information on how Friday Pulse can help, please reach out