“Our HR data showed that social events at work make our employees happy – now we do more!”
HR data: Our social events at work make employees happy– now we do more!
Social events at work are common. What is less common is to check if they are effective or not as you try to boost morale at work.
As I prepared to write about Quimica Passol where our data had spotted a nice work culture (one of many), I came across a job portal where the Chilean company had just put up a job advert.
It surprised me that they labeled their working environment as a modest pleasant.
Hang on, I thought to myself; with an Employee Mood KPI of 82% at their manufacturing plant they should be banging on a bigger drum!
So if you’re a Production Operator on the lookout for work in Chile, here are my 2 cents to why you might wanna give Quimicia Passol a call.
And for the rest, here’s a peak into how their Business Director improves working conditions using mood data:
It all started in the spring of 2015 when Jens Meyer, the German born Business Director, hung a second device next to their biometric employee time clock.
Instead of tracking how many hours the employees work, this device started tracking how they were feeling at work.
As the staff left the plant to go home, they started pressing the green or red button on a daily basis, simply answering “How was your day?”.
Anonymously and voluntarily.
424 days of daily Mood data
In the 424 days that employees have been giving feedback, Jens discovered that their Mood depends on cultural patterns.
Some of their findings are that better weather equals better mood among employees. “Simple!”, as he puts it.
They also discovered just how important the paydays are for the mood. “Chile has low incomes and people depend a lot on the payment on the 15th and the last day of the month”, he states.
Social activities at work make us happy
The HR data also gave clarity on things that their employees appreciate, like social events at work:
“We noticed that social events at work like barbecues and Christmas activities have a lot of influence on mood. So we try to do these more often.”
Fiestas Patrias celebrates the freedom from Spanish rule, and go on for several days in Chile
Measuring the impact of firing an employee
Jens’ second job title at Quimica Passol is “Re-inventor”.
The Chilean family company deals with paints and other chemicals and has some employees who started with the founder 40 years ago, whose children now even work for the company.
To me, that sounds like a tough place to re-invent when it comes to work culture.
I’ve heard many explain how hiring and firing in family-based companies are sometimes political and hard to navigate as it’s a close-knit environment.
So I’m intrigued as Meyer says they detected “positive reactions” in the mood data as they decided to fire four people who had negative track records and a clear influence on certain behaviours in the company. (“Interesting!” he labels it.)
And for me it makes sense. It’s not much fun working with disengaged people that repeatedly tells us all why our jobs stink. It was also the first time I had seen such a clear impact of firing an employee.
Communicating change to employees (not well enough)
“With the Celpax device we’ve especially seen the impact on our mood levels when we had to make changes”, says Jens.
He also says they made it clear from day one that their employee’s feedback was appreciated.
“One example on the importance of communication is when we had to add extra hours to the plant workers’ schedule. As they
tried to avoid the increase, the Mood KPI went down.”
Jens and his team quickly decided to make extra sessions to explain the reasons behind the increase in hours, invoke the workers union, etc.
“But even so we had at least 6 weeks of a lower green result”, he says and points to the Employee Mood data on the board.
“I guess it showed us how important it is to announce, communicate and work beforehand, so that people can get accustomed to new situations”, Jens concludes.
They weren’t successful in communicating the change to employees on time.
And that’s something we see in our data at workplaces worldwide:
How to communicate change in the workplace
Open communication channels have a positive impact on employee morale. Even no news is news when you’re eager to find out more about what’s happening at work and with your job position.
That is why we nag on about the importance of talking with your employees: our data show these are the workplaces where they recover their Mood KPI the fastest.
So next time Quimica Passol needs new employees, they deserve to get a bunch of job applications.
They have an Employee Mood KPI they should be really proud of, and are willing to act to keep their plant workers happy.