Question: How do you measure your startup employees' morale over time?
Quarterly Efficiency Audits
"Every quarter, I run what I call "efficiency audits" -- meetings where I ask employees specifically about their email management, daily and weekly schedules, priorities, happiness, sleep, health and fitness. Over time, I can compare how we're doing as a company; individually, I can track everyone's growth!"
Keep an Eye on Side Projects
"If one of my team members is either pouring everything she's got into a side project or she doesn't have one at all, I consider that a warning sign for bad morale. I go through my team's side projects on a regular basis and, as long as there seems to be balance between what they're doing for me and what they're building for themselves, I don't worry too much."
Always Stream Something Good
"If your office includes employee selected music playing, you can instantly gauge the morale by what's playing on the speakers. Generally, people are not going to be playing upbeat, happy music if they're depressed or upset. At a startup I once worked at, control of the music rotated, which made it easy to get a sampling of everyone's feelings as each person took a turn as DJ."
"Every Monday, everyone at my company fills out a short survey using 15five, describing what's gone well over the past week, what hasn't, and how happy they are. It's also a platform to make suggestions for how the company as a whole can improve. The survey takes a few minutes to answer, and it allows me to keep a pulse on what's going on with each individual and make sure everyone is thriving."
Solicit Feedback on Tasks
"I always try to include my employees in the discussion about what they will be working on. I try to find out if what they are doing is interesting to them and if they have ideas on it. When employees just start doing things only because you ask them to, it's usually a good sign that morale is decreasing. Try to repurpose or re-inspire your employees with things they want to be doing."
Anonymity Says It All
"We distribute an annual survey for each team member to answer about every other team member in the company anonymously. The surveys are filled with general questions based around dedication and skill levels, and offer an opportunity for others to suggest ways each team member can improve. Once they're all filled out, I meet with each person to go over the responses so they know where they stand."
Is This Still Working For You?
"On a periodic basis, I point blank ask, "Is this still working for you?" If someone is ready to move on to a new opportunity, I want to know and help them to reach their goals. It's important to care about individuals as people and to be willing to bless and release them when the time is right."
Job Descriptions and Goal Sheets
"The simple strategic solution to this is to know your employees goals, both personally and professionally, and then help them to reach those goals. Let them know they are not only an element of your goals but you are also an element of theirs. In many cases, their goals are not all that far-reaching, and by working with them to reach their goals, you'll have an employee for life."
"Every quarter, I have a one-on-one lunch with each employee with my VP of Internal Affairs. I let them choose the restaurant. I ask them to be transparent and upfront on how we can improve their work environment, their job and our company. I listen to their concerns and what they like. This is a great time for me to truly see what direction we can continue to improve on in the next quarter."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.