I know from myself that happiness improves my attitude and my motivation towards goals in my business and private life. I think when people are unhappy, they can be engaged in the workplace though and cope with bad feelings. For a higher engagement level and productivity, I believe people need positive feelings and should be satisfied and happy in their work environment. Happiness, satisfaction, and engagement are co-related and connected with each other.
In our team we have the mindset that being happy is a matter of decision – it does not only come after success. To be truly happy is just a choice in every life situation. We also believe that happiness in the workplace is achievable when we decide to be and chose happiness.
To increase not only the happiness in our workplace happiness and our remote team, but also in our online workshops with my clients, I tried the management 3.0 tool and approach of the „Happiness Door“ out. In this article, I describe what the happiness door is, how I set it up, and how it helped me to improve happiness in our team and for clients.
The Happiness Door is a simple and fun management 3.0 tool to ask people about their feedback and get it quickly. You can use the happiness door to get feedback and make feelings and people’s moods visible during or at the end of a workshop or in any interaction within your team to increase engagement, collaboration, and communication. It is a combination of the Happiness Index and the Feedback Door techniques.
The idea is to draw a happiness index from 1 „feeling bad“ to 5 “feeling great” on a piece of paper and put it on a door (that’s why happiness “door”) where everybody passes by several times during a day and can leave their feedback. People can take a sticky note, write down their feedback, and place it in the happiness door in the appropriate index 1-5.
My experiences using the Happiness Door in online workshops with clients
I tried out the Happiness door in an online workshop for Remote Leadership for an enterprise client. The workshop consisted of four sessions each three hours and was part of the executive development program. There were 12 people in the group, all from the middle management.
In an online workshop as a trainer, it is crucial to keep the energy in the group high to improve the learning experience. In my workshops, I learned that when I ask for feedback only at the end of the session, I will lose the attention of the participants during the workshop. From my experience, people do not like to fill out a questionnaire at the end of a workshop. They think like it is a chore. But they would like to express how they are feeling in a simple way.
It is better to ask about feedback and feelings several times during the online workshop. This increases the overall commitment. That is why I chose to use a Happiness Door in this workshop to improve engagement and have everybody on track during the workshop.
I used the Happiness Door in the following situations:
- Check-in of participants, onboarding, and the start of the workshop session:
At the beginning of the second workshop session, I explained the why of the Happiness Door, described the advantage for the participants, and how this feedback practice helps me to conduct a great workshop for them. I asked the participants how they feel today – regarding personal mood and the upcoming workshop session. The goal is to listen to all participants and to check the pulse of the group.
- After a group exercise and break-out session:
How was the exercise regarding learning level and collaboration?
- Ongoing feedback, every time the participants would like to give feedback:
I find it important to get ongoing feedback about the learning content, workshop-style, what they miss, and to find out about the participants’ mood during the workshop sessions. For this, I invited everybody to give updated feedback whenever they would like or before going to a coffee break. I posted these questions in the chat and pin them.
- At the end of the session:
The happiness door was a great way to end the workshop session – what was good – what was bad – what are you happy about or not. This helps me to improve things for the next workshop sessions.
The Happiness Door should be strategically placed and accessible for every participant in the workshop. In an in-house workshop in the office, you can place the Happiness Door in the door or on a wall. In a remote workshop, it is more difficult to have the Happiness Door always visible. I set up a Happiness Door in Mural and pasted the link to the Mural board in the chat and make sure the post with the link is always on the top of the chat. During the workshop, I reminded the group and encouraged everyone to go to the Mural board and the Happiness Door. I gave time to that during the session.
Everybody could choose if they would like to enter the Mural board anonymously to give anonymous feedback or enter her/his name. I found out some people feel more comfortable when they can leave anonymous feedback so that is why I did not want to force people to enter their name – every idea put up anonymously is made visible publicly though and other people could relate to it.
How did people respond to the Happiness Door and what did I learned in this workshop?
Some participants were a bit hesitant to give feedback, and some people had to get used to the Happiness Door, and some people ignored it first. As a facilitator, I learned that the feedback increased and got better when the group had a facilitated feedback round together. That was my learning from the first workshop session. At the beginning of the second workshop sessions, we did the first feedback round together in the group with the simple question „How you are feeling?“.
I also learned that in this group people needed specific questions and feedback categories to leave feedback. For example: How was the group exercise (content, group collaboration)?
There is also a special dynamic in workshop groups: if there are few people who share feedback very active, the other people in the group also give more and better feedback. As a facilitator, I recommend keeping in mind that workshop groups can be different.
In my opinion, it also depends on a group and its dynamic if people leave more anonymous feedback, or only numeric feedback by putting an empty sticky note in the feedback scale, or if they give concrete feedback and write down exactly what they like or dislike. When they are more people in the group who write down an exact comment, the other participants will follow. It was interesting that this changed with each workshop session. First, the participants were hesitant and left only anonymous numeric feedback. In the following session, some people started to give concrete feedback, and the other participants followed.
But I always told them that empty notes and anonymous feedback are ok. For me as a facilitator it is more important to get any feedback at all, and that people feel comfortable with it.
The participants decided that the Happiness Door was a great approach, and some of the participants wanted to try out this practice in their own team.
My experiences using the Happiness Door in a remote team
In a remote work environment, it’s difficult to know and to recognise all the time how people are feeling and how the pulse of the team is.
We introduced the twelve steps of happiness from the management 3.0 framework and combined it with the happiness doors to apply them in a daily business whenever we can.
The 12 steps are:
- Gratitude and appreciation: say thank you to team members as often as you can
- Give: give little presents to team members to express gratitude or to think of them
- Help: assist your team, offer help and advice, also allow others to help you
- Eat well: make good healthy food available in the workplace. In a remote work environment, you can send people vouchers to get healthy food from a restaurant in their location
- Exercise: encourage your team to exercise regularly, for example, you can organise a weekly run. In a remote work environment, people can also do a virtual parallel exercise session
- Rest well: encourage people to take breaks
- Experience: make sure that people can try out new things in their work
- Hike: encourage team members to go outside for activities
- Meditate: adopt regular mindfulness to become more resilient and get better awareness. In a remote team, you can organise a virtual mediation session where people can join
- Socialise: make sure there is room for social interaction in your team. In a remote team, this is crucial to prevent isolation and build a strong team spirit
- Aim: define a vision, mission, and purpose for your organisation and also support people to reach their own goals. Everybody should understand there is a good and meaningful reason to take part in the organisation and this will help people to achieve their goals.
- Smile: share smiles J
We analyse the current status and the happiness index of these 12 steps in regularly retrospective and identify what we could be better to realise them in our team as good as possible. Therefore, we use the happiness door where people leave their feedback.
For us, it’s important to check happiness not only in retrospectives but as often as it’s possible. We decided to leave this happiness door accessible in Mural after the retrospective so that people express their happiness and feelings about the 12 steps whenever they would like. Then we can make changes and improve things very quickly.
My experiences and key learnings overall using a Happiness Door
In the following, I describe my experiences and learnings with the happiness door.
- It is a great way to understand people’s moods enhance collaboration, have better communication, and increase engagement level.
- My clients gave feedback that they had a better learning experience when using the happiness door in the workshops.
- As a facilitator, I could immediately identify areas for improvement regarding exercises, understanding of the learning content and could make changes during a session.
- I got better insights about what is going well and what had to be changed and improved.
- People in the team gave the feedback they felt more listened to and appreciated.
- It helped to break the ice in online meetings and online workshops.
- I always know the pulse of a group and can react accordingly.
What I learned:
- People can leave sticky notes empty and can just place them on the happiness door. With Mural we can be more creative and place emojis or images or draw something to express feelings. This also means more fun for everyone. It is not mandatory to describe the stick. They can be left empty and just placed in the appropriate happiness index. For people, it’s the easiest way to give left.
- Allow anonymous feedback. Not everybody feels comfortable to enter a name. For me, the overall feedback is more important than knowing where it comes from.
- Make sure that everybody understands the scale of the happiness index. Define your scale. I also used emojis with the numbers to make the scale clear to all.
- You can ask questions to make feedback more specific.
- It is not mandatory to describe the stick. They can be left empty and just placed in the appropriate happiness index. For people, it is the easiest way to give left.
- Every group has a different feedback dynamic, and people behave differently. As a facilitator, I have to find out this during the workshop or in a team.
- The tool Mural worked very well. I will keep it in the future.
In the future, I would like to try out another feedback scale, to see reaction of the people and make feedback simpler, for example a scale of three or four. I think when using a scale of three, there might be the danger that people tend to the middle. Using scale of 4, people have to decide for good or bad feedback side which is more meaningful. Let’s experiment!