Assess if Employees Are Really Happy

Happy Employees are considered to be the most productive. When it comes to a new employee’s journey with an organization, recruiting and on-boarding are top priorities in laying the foundation for human resources in making a new team member happy. But sometimes companies focus too much on making a great first impression, overlooking the opportunity to validate how new employees are feeling in their job in that initial period. According to Right Management, a subsidiary of the staffing firm Manpower Group, 44 percent of employees say they are “unsatisfied” and not happy at work.

One way to reverse such a discouraging number is to invest in a 90-day happy check program, a mechanism to ensure new hires have continued to progress after the initial on-boarding period has concluded.  In performing a happy check, HR must address three questions: What is it that you want to measure during this check now that new hires have had a chance to experience the culture and interact with fellow team members? Who should perform the check? And how will HR follow up?


Regardless of an organization’s culture, here are some basic questions to consider as part of a happy check program:

a) On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the happiest, how happy are you that you joined us?

b) How are things going in your daily work?

c) Is the work what you expected?

d) Is there anything we can do to make you more successful in your role?

e) How are things going with your supervisor, manager or coach? 

f) Have you had a special moment that sticks out in your mind as an especially rewarding or happy moment since joining the company?

g) Is there anything we as a company could do to enhance the on-boarding process to make it better for future new employees? 

Of course, companies should also have their own set of questions to supplement this list, ensuring they are capturing what is most important to them.

Who Performs the Happy Check?

The size and structure of an organization will largely determine the answer to this question. Ideally, the “happy checker” should be someone who plays a neutral role in the new employee’s daily work.  For example, perhaps it’s the HR representative who was responsible for orientation on the employee’s first day. Another candidate might be a new hire’s direct supervisor – although there is the risk of not getting complete and transparent information depending upon that employee’s relationship with the manager and how safe he or she feels sharing honest feedback with the supervisor.

Happy Check Follow Up

Valuable feedback on various opportunities for improvement may be revealed during the happy check process. To protect the program’s integrity, it is important to establish a clear follow-up procedure that ensures the new employee who shared his or her ideas for improvement understands that the feedback was heard and acted upon to improve the company’s processes moving forward.  Feedback should also be consistently reported to senior leadership to ensure they have a pulse on the perspectives of newer employees.

Happy checks – or what others may refer to as 90-day reunions – can also serve as a wealth of information that is easily accessed and readily available. When the company is ready to take the steps to implement a happy check program, consider these tips:

1. Set the stage: Let new employees know during their orientation session that they will be participating in a happy check at their 90-day period with the company.

2. Show the value: As the company introduces a happy employee check program to new employees, let them know how much the organization values the process as a way to ensure that things are going well in their job as well as the transparency the company hopes will be shared through any suggestions new hires may have for enhancing on-boarding. 

3. Share success stories: When a company hears about a great idea during a happy check, take the steps to implement it and share the success story with the entire company.

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