How to keep employees happy (in 3 simple steps)

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How to keep employees happy (or not) comes easy for some managers, and is rocket science for others.

3 Steps to Keep Employees Happy and Motivated

I was recently interviewed by Peter Wald at the University of Leipzig as part of the HR Innovation Day.

I’ll be giving a keynote speech called “Real-Time Employee Morale: Why measure daily?”.

Here’s a recap:

Peter: Rebecca, could you introduce yourself and Celpax? How did the idea for Celpax, and the device come about?

Rebecca: Well, I’m one of the cofounders of Swedish Celpax. We interviewed more than 100 leaders to get to the product we have today. Leaders who had done remarkable things. We asked them what they do to keep employees happy and motivated.

And the product isn’t finished, we keep learning together with our users!

In 2012 we launched the Celpax, a device to measure employee morale. Staff answer the question “How was your day?” by pressing a green or a red smiley button as they go home.

How to keep employees happy

After the employees have pressed, they see the combined result from their colleagues.

The online dashboard shows the result per day, week, month etc. You’ll see employee morale trends, the impact of a big management announcement, an All-Hands meeting, etc.

Users tend to cross check with other Business KPI’s like productivity, safety, etc. It can also indicate signs of burnout among your people.

So at Celpax we develop simple tech tools to get more people involved at work. And create a better society while at it!

We’re a for-profit that want more people to wake up in the morning and feel GOOD about going to work.


hr metrics dashboard

How to keep employees happy


happy workplace

Employee engagement surveys vs. Pulse Surveys

Peter: What experiences have you had with your device? Many wonder why the mood of employees should be measured in “real-time”, as they think of annual employee engagement surveys?
Rebecca: With a survey you get a lot of in-depth explanations. With the Celpax you get insights while you improve.

As a manager, you do something today and you see the result tomorrow. Are your actions and improvements working? You can easily measure progress.

We are in the business of simplicity and DIY (do it yourself), it’s a pulse survey.

The employee engagement surveys kind of complements what we do:

A heart rate monitor might not be a medical checkup, but all athletes use one to improve. It tells you how your training went, if you’re getting fit, we kind of do the same… Both are related to health, but not really comparable.

The Celpax data tells you if the actions you take improve the employee morale. Do more of what makes people press green, and try to fix what makes people press red.

The Celpax might not explain everything that is going on, or asses in-depth as employee engagement surveys would, but if you do something today, tomorrow you’ll see the result of your action.

So you can improve the employee experience and base actions on numbers, not just gut feelings. Of course, the preferred choice would be to talk to all employees all the time to know how people feel and react, but as we all know, that is simply not possible.

The 3 steps we learnt from users to keep employees happy

  1. Measure. Your first Celpax is free.
  2. Talk. Have “real” conversations at work. Our data shows that companies that promote a culture of conversation, consistently get higher scores. What do people think needs to be fixed in your work culture? Our best users are willing to openly ask for help and input. They do face-to-face interactions an don’t hide behind a survey.
  3. Improve. Identify actions together with your employees. Perhaps get them to vote on what to fix first? Check the impact of your actions to see if you are able to boost morale at work.

And then you REPEAT the 3 steps!

It’s an agile approach to continuous improvement with People Analytics.

Personnel managers, culture of communication

Employee resistance?

Peter: What do you recommend to personnel managers who are planning to introduce your device? How should they prepare? How about employee resistance?

Rebecca: To be honest we see more resistance from managers than from employees hehe.

One of my favourite quotes is from a HR Director who said “Our employees got it instantly. It took 7 months for our management to get it”.

The reason the management team finally got past the resistance was because they had a major crisis with a lot of ‘red’ pulses, key people choosing to leave the organization, etc. HR showed them the correlation in the Celpax numbers.

The crisis was easy to predict and the numbers also showed the positive result as they started addressing the problem.

There’s not much preparation needed. HR usually install themselves in under 10 minutes as it’s so easy.

Who is the head of employee engagement?

Based on feedback from other users, we recommend to establish who will be responsible for talking with people about what makes them press green (do more!) and red (ask how employees think it can be fixed – and try to fix it together with them).

Middle managers are key.

Our data shows that organizations where these conversations are happening, have higher employee morale, and take less time to recoup after a tough period.

Some delegate to IT because it’s HR tech. But is your IT Director responsible for employee engagement?

They seem to forget that company culture is not a self-playing piano. You need to DO something after you have asked a question that your employees have responded. It can be really small things, but you need to follow up and be prepared to share the results :)

The IT Director is responsible for employee engagement among her or his team, yes.

Who is the head of employee engagement from a company-wide perspective?

I am many times surprised by how lonely middle managers feel when they struggle with how to keep employees happy.

Real-Time Employee Morale: Why measure daily?

Peter: What can the listeners expect from your Keynote in general?

Rebecca: We are going to go through real cases of how real-time employee engagement is being used.

I’ll be talking about how operation leaders assess their activities to boost morale at work, as they’re being executed.

I hope that people will feel they learnt something new Peter! That they see employee engagement from a different perspective – that simplicity will take you a long way.

And feel a bit inspired to get more hands-on in the workplace.

Employee Morale Survey

HR Innovation Day 2018

Peter: Finally, a question for all speakers. Why are you participating at the HR Innovation Day 2018?

Rebecca: We’re in 60 countries and I do most sessions online. I’m looking forward to meeting people “real life”. I love hearing directly from HR practitioners what their biggest challenges are in the workplace and how to keep employees happy.

Please do come up and say hi!

I was a speaker at a Talent Management Leaders event in Berlin and had such a great time. I’m sure Leipzig will be as fun!

I’m also looking forward to listening to the other speakers at the German event.

PS. Rebecca recently answered 5 (+1) Questions on expectations on Human Resource Management on Peter’s HRM blog. Full interview here.


Interested in how to keep employees happy and motivated with a Celpax? Your 1st is free!

Boost morale at work with HR data

Smiley feedback terminal Celpax

hr metrics dashboard

Rebecca Lundin, CelpaxHej! I’m Rebecca, co-owner at Celpax. We use simple tech tools to measure and boost morale at work so you can keep your talent. And build a better society while at it! Join me on Twitter to talk about how to keep employees happy and motivated.


How to keep employees happy and motivated in the workplace

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