“It’s the conversations as much as the smiley buttons. These conversations wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
Questions to ask staff at one on one meetings
It’s staff appraisal time at Bespoke. This quarter the CEO is seeing a new openness and flow in the conversations. What changed?
“People don’t talk that openly about their feelings at most workplaces”, says Steve Brennan, CEO at UK based Bespoke. “They talk about tasks and deadlines more than feelings.“
“Our staff appraisals used to be complex conversations”, he continues.
“After we installed our Celpax device – our pulse survey where we leave daily feedback as to how our days have been – there’s been a noticeable change.”
“We can measure the office mood now. We discuss the numbers and the trends every week in our management meeting. If there´s been a lot of projects, deadlines… the mood could be lower.”
“It helps us understand how the previous week has been from a staff point of view as well as a client view. It’s been very interesting to follow things that have happened in the company.“
Bespoke is a UK based web specialist with 17 employees. They’re growing fast:
“It comes to a point where you can’t be aware of how every individual is feeling every day. So you need some means to measure it, or know the trend.
“We liked the visual message that the Celpax gives: we care about how our staff feel. There’s value of keeping our number high, we are normally around 90% green.”
“We understand everyone won’t have a green day every day, that’s not how it works. But it shouldn’t be the same people having a red day all the time. At team meetings we discuss next steps for next week to address the red.”
You need to talk about what’s behind the numbers
“Having the device stimulates conversations; it’s a good way to open up these topics“, says Steve.
“The mood graph is fantastic but you need to talk about what’s behind the numbers. We learnt that there’s a difference between people in what they enjoy or regard as success in a working day.”
“Sometimes it’s surprising. Employees could press red and the reason would be ‘I haven’t been able to finish this for the customer’. I thought it would have been more selfish! It’s great when you hear that this is somebody’s mentality.”
100% green mood
“One day everybody was on top of their work, and we’d delivered some good results, so we just said let’s close early, and head off to the pub. It’s the only time we’ve ever done it. We got a 100% green result that day”, he says with a generous grin.
As Steve recalls the event, it gets him reflecting:
“It was a spontaneous event. Maybe it hadn’t been as exciting if it had been planned? Maybe it wasn’t the pub? Perhaps it was the surprise more than the actual pub? (at this point he interrupts himself with a ‘See! I’m learning in this conversation. It proves that talking about it helps.’)
“One thing we didn’t expect was to get so many customers asking what it is. They’re curious, they can’t believe the red and green result goes in to analytics and ask how it goes on to the screens. They like that we care. People would rather work with a company like that, although it’s not something we’re forcing.”
An example of the Employee Mood KPI, available online
When there’s little work the Mood KPI goes down
The Employee Mood KPI is one of the KPI numbers Bespoke check every week.
Right from the beginning it has correlated to how busy people are.
“When it’s busier or quieter than you want it to be the Mood KPI goes down. People want to feel busy and valuable. So when part of the team is quieter with work, we get more red. They don’t feel they’re delivering. Pressing the red is also a way to let off some steam”, Steve continues.
Staff appraisal time
This quarter Bespoke introduced the question ‘What would make you press red or green? Whether you did or you didn’t?’.
“People feel happier answering this than just answering ‘What do you like about working here?’. They can relate to red and green”, he states.
“Employees say, ‘I press green when my work is very well organized’. If you address it directly they don’t want to imply their manager hasn’t prepared the work well enough. They would feel rude saying what makes you not want to work here. With this they can speak diplomatically, tactfully.”
“It’s almost like the machine is asking and listening. They would tell the machine some things they may not want to say face-to-face”, he says with a laugh.
“It’s the conversations as much as the pressing of the button. These conversations wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
It gets people thinking
At Bespoke they also ask ‘What would make you have more green days?’.
Answers could be along the line of ‘Well, if I prepare better in the morning, I can press green at the end of the day.’ “It gets people thinking”, says Steve.
“By now we’ve built a picture of common themes of what makes us press red and green.”
“Our target is set now at 90% green and fortunately we are normally very close either side of it”, the CEO continues. “We’ll talk straight away now about how to get the mood back up if it ever drops.”
“Speaking about the mood results has been the big learning for us. Staff appraisals used to be complex conversations. The Celpax gives our employees a way to raise issues at work without it being in a personal way. That’s been valuable.”