A happy face or a sad face: Why we chose 2 buttons as employee feedback

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A happy face or a sad face: Employee Feedback

Do you normally make a happy face at work?

Leaders and HR have a full agenda and a complex role to play. This is why we realized how clever it would be for employees to give ongoing feedback on their working days with just two buttons. One green and one red.

It’s a knotty world out there.

There are many initiatives designed to boost employee morale that fade away between complex rollouts (we know, we used to offer one!), lack of participation and slow employee feedback loops.

Measuring employee engagement – A different way

In 2011 we decided to simplify things by cutting through the crap and just focusing on what really matters.

How are your employees doing at work?

We came up with a device that hangs at the exit door and simply asks all coworkers to answer ‘How was your day?’ by pressing the green or the red button. A happy face, or a sad face.

To get people to keep pressing and feel more involved, the collective employee mood is shown (using lights) after you’ve pressed.

The online dashboard helps HR analyze and act on the results.

I.e. your Mood KPI is 62% this month, yesterday 88% hit the red button, the effect of your Waffle Fridays is +10%, etc.

Employee Mood Trend Analysis for Daily Pulse

Disengaged employees tend to believe that ‘everything’ sucks

After you reflect and ‘label’ your day as good or bad, you instantly see how your colleagues feel.

Disengaged employees tend to believe that ‘everything’ sucks. They are also usually keen to keep talking about it to others.

In many cases the lights give a voice to the ‘silent majority’ that might not be as articulate, and display what we call a ‘brutal fact’ to those who keep pressing the red button: ”Hey there, not everything sucks, at least not for the other 80% of your colleagues!”. They chose a happy face at the end of the work shift.

The disengaged, for some reason, are sometimes very energetic in trying to spread their negative feelings, or to get empathy from fellow coworkers.

We believe that employees choosing green and red, and afterwards being shown how their colleagues feel, helps this situation.

So why only two buttons?

This is intentional, and by design , in order to force people to think, to decide. We want people to actively choose, to make a decision. There’s no sitting on the fence!

If it’s tricky to choose, that’s positive! It means they’re not sure and are thinking, self-reflecting upon if their day was good or bad, if they want more days like this, and so forth.

You can always decide on one, and that is where the value is.

When you leave work you either want to have days like this one, or you would prefer other types of working days.

There is no middle point.

Binary decision making

To press the yellow would be the same as not pressing, you’re just participation, complying without really giving information.

The yellow button is the easy way out. 

If you’re being “forced” to push, that would be your way out. But then what action is there? The Celpax is about improving!

The comfortable middle option (orange) is that you don’t have to think. And that’s the problem.

There are tons of people who shy away from making decisions and just go for the easy, middle option. With our green or red approach, it quickly turns into a habit to evaluate your day by simply pressing one button as you leave your workplace.

This also means we quickly pick up the reactions from your employees like after a key event, or an important announcement, so you can instantly check the impact on your employee morale.

Binary decision making: It forces you to reflect

When confronted with two choices – you either press a happy face or a sad face – it forces you to reflect on your workday.

Imagine if you press red several days in a row. Perhaps it would get you thinking about things?

Reflect over why you’re not happy at work. Or the steps you need to take to have ‘greener’ days. Or who you need to talk to in order to improve things for you and others at work.

In this binary decision making, each employee use a set of criteria that is meaningful to them.

Creating meaningful conversations

Our solution also helps management to listen better, and to respond when needed.

This in turn means employees feel they are being listened to.

Every week we constantly hear new user stories of how the Celpax helps leaders create meaningful conversations in the workplace.

We love it!

What seems to work best? When team managers at ALL levels engage in honest, face-to-face conversations. Continuously.

This is a tool for improving. And the data will tell your managers if they are successful.

Reflecting on your work improves job performance

Research shows that taking time to reflect on your work improves job performance in the long run.

By employees sharing how their day went, companies start a collective habit that means that leaders can lay the foundation to get people more motivated, create meaningful conversations and improve office morale.

We see our Celpax device as continuous improvement in the workplace where all team managers – supported by HR when needed – take action in response to the feedback given, to increase the bottom line and spice up employee engagement.

Making a choice: A happy face?

It’s all about making a choice and many people do just choose to be engaged:

There is a famous story – be it true or not – that reflects the belief that being engaged or not is a personal decision:

A man sweeping a hanger the size of a football field was approached by a visitor at the NASA Space Centre in the late ’60s. “What do you do here?” asked the visitor.

”I’m helping to put a man on the moon” he replied.

Interested in honest, transparent leadership?

The Celpax devices give you visibility into how your company culture evolves over time, and the impact of your leadership activities. 


Smiley feedback terminal Celpax

Boost morale at work with HR data

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! Let’s talk about binary decision making on Twitter?
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