How to Check Your Team’s Morale

Published on
October 7, 2023
Boost team morale with these effective strategies and keep your team motivated and productive.

Morale is the key component of a team's effectiveness — an engaged and interested team will consistently outperform a disengaged one, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. 

But getting honest and reliable feedback from your team is harder than it sounds — and quantifying it into a trackable statistic is even less intuitive.

Our solution to this issue is TeamMood, a mood checker app, and in this article, we will discuss how it can help you monitor your workplace's mental health.

The Benefits of Well-being in the Workplace

Over the last decade, chief happiness officers, stress management coaches, and well-being programs have emerged in companies worldwide to improve workplace happiness. 

Behind this trend lies a growing concern of companies for the well-being of their teams at work. Today's employees expect more than job security: team morale has become a real imperative to keep teams motivated and productive.

Improving retention

In 2021, in response to COVID-19, a record number of people have been voluntarily leaving their jobs worldwide. As a consequence of this "Great Resignation" (also called the "Big Quit" by some economists), companies have had a hard time recruiting the top talents they need to grow and recover from the crisis. 

The competition is fierce for employers - significantly as telecommuting, and digital nomadism grow. While companies have access to a global talent pool, employees also have access to a broader range of choices and are not shy about looking for greener pastures elsewhere. 

In this context, improving team morale to increase retention is vital for managers.

Team Productivity

Happiness at work leading to greater productivity is no myth. In 2014, Pr. Andrew J. Oswald, Pr. Eugenio Proto, and Pr. Daniel Sgroi from the University of Warwick in the UK published the striking results of their study: happy people were found to be 12% more productive, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.

The three economists concluded from their study that "human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity."

Of course, companies cannot impose happiness on their employees. But they can still set up ground rules and working conditions to help their teammates blossom. 

However, the first difficulty arises when measuring team morale and obtaining honest feedback, whether positive or negative.

Why every company should run regular mood check-ins 

The human factor is probably the most crucial aspect of a functioning team – and it's trickiest. 

Indeed, as work is getting increasingly complex, employees can suffer from uncountable sources of pressure or dissatisfaction. By doing regular mood checks, teams should be able to:

  • Increase trust within the team
  • Improve relationships among teammates
  • Foster feedback and create a culture of constructive criticism 
  • Raise issues and try to fix them swiftly
  • Share their feelings more easily 
  • Ask for help and develop mutual aid
  • Boost employee satisfaction

How to Set Up a Team Mood Check Regularly

Honesty and transparency aren't always easy to foster in the workplace. Indeed, employees may feel uncomfortable openly sharing their feelings or difficulties. 

Therefore, it's the company's responsibility to set up processes and rituals to check employee morale and allow teammates to share any feedback safely. 

Mood checks can happen on various time scales:

  • Annual surveys: to obtain a global and exhaustive vision of the morale of the company and to follow the evolution via a mood indicator chart year after year
  • One-on-one reviews: they can be a great place to dive into difficulties and suggestions for improvement, provided that trust prevails and that the problems do not concern the hierarchical relationship
  • Retrospectives: sprint retrospectives, post-mortem, and project reviews are great opportunities to share feedback and lessons learned as a team, but they usually happen after the project or sprint is over, so they can only help improve the situation forward
  • Weekly or daily meetings: just like the retrospective, feedback, complaints, and suggestions for improvement are shared among the team, but as they happen regularly throughout the project, they can help alleviate the situation as it goes
  • Niko-Niko Calendar: also known as the smiley calendar or the happiness index, the Niko Niko calendar is a daily calendar in which each team member is invited to share their mood of the day, sticking a happy 😄, straight 😬 or frowning 🙁 smiley, or color stickers (green / orange / red) on it. It can be done on a physical board or online with a tool like TeamMood, especially for multi-located teams.

How to leverage team mood check? 

As an Agile coach, James Willis says, "Simply doing a health check every day won't improve it ."So, how do you leverage your team mood check? 

First, a snapshot of the team's mood at a given moment isn't as interesting as the evolution over time. Individual moods can be displayed in a mood indicator chart, and a sudden rise or fall will greatly indicate that the situation has changed for the better or worse. 

But again, the picture itself isn't very useful unless the results are shared openly and commented on with the entire team. It can be done at a weekly, monthly, or quarterly meeting, during a retrospective, etc. 

By sharing the aggregated results with their team, the team leaders show that their mood matters and are willing to discuss and improve what can be improved.

Discussing the issues is crucial when checking team mood. If your team is in a bad mood or if a team member is constantly down, you need to raise the issue and try to find a solution. Talking about the "bad" results of a team mood check at a team meeting is the perfect opportunity to identify issues and discuss potential solutions.

Team mood checks aren't only useful to issue alerts: they can demonstrate that a team is currently in a great mood. Taking the time to discuss it with the team will help managers understand the causes and better know their team. It can also be an excellent opportunity to celebrate successes or good news.

The case of TeamMood

TeamMood is an online Niko-Niko calendar combined with a feedback box. 

It sends a daily email to all team members, departments, or the company asking a simple question: "How do you feel today?" Team members can respond safely and anonymously and give feedback if they feel like it. 

With this simple tool, TeamMood can help team leaders: 

  • Check the mood of their team daily
  • Track the evolution of their team's mood
  • Encourage feedback and ideas for improvement
  • Ensure people's anonymity
  • Openly discuss with the whole team

This was a guest blog post by TeamMood. Check them out to better assess your team's mood and create a more productive workplace.

Thanks for reading.

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