Measuring Team Health and Morale: A Guide to Improving Your Workplace

Companies are increasingly recognizing the need to measure and visualize how their teams are performing, using various metrics such as OKRs, KPIs, and NPS scores. The rationale behind this approach is simple: you can’t improve what you don’t measure, and without clear visualization, you’re essentially guessing when it comes to your team’s performance.

Traditionally, performance metrics have been the go-to indicators for evaluating team success. However, these are often lagging indicators, meaning that by the time issues become apparent, significant damage may have already been done.

On the flip side, team health and well-being are leading indicators, much like routine visits to the doctor’s office. In today’s dynamic business landscape, understanding team health and employee engagement cannot be overstated.

Two fundamental questions arise when discussing team health, engagement, and morale:

  1. Can team health and morale be accurately measured?
  2. What can be done to impact team health positively?

What Do We Mean By Team Health?

Team health and well-being refers to the overall state of engagement and satisfaction. It encompasses how team members collaborate with one another, their sense of purpose, and how they strive (or perhaps don’t) for improvement. All of this ultimately leads to a thriving and productive work environment and high team performance. There are many ways to measure and visualize Team Health. A few examples:

The Bad News

Unfortunately, there’s no magic pixie dust that can instantly make someone happy, nor should it be the primary goal. In fact, creating “happy” systems can lead to complacency, as Dave Snowden and the Corporate Rebels have pointed out. Sometimes, introducing stressors into our systems can be beneficial, fostering innovation, mutations, and disruptions.

Instead of happiness, what questions should leaders, HR, and People Operations be asking? Perhaps they should be asking questions like:

  • Does our system nurture conditions conducive to healthy resilience in our people and teams?
  • Are we equipping teams with the right skills to handle diversity?
  • Are people connected and bought into the vision and mission of our organizations?
  • Do they feel engaged in their work?

These questions and the environmental conditions they bring to mind encompass practices, resources, characteristics, and skills that build the capacity to adapt to stress in a healthy, sustainable manner, with positivity, focus, flexibility, organization, and proactivity.

The Good News

The good news is that there is a direct link between employee engagement, team health, and key business outcomes, and you can experiment with various approaches and monitor the results.

To help you on your journey to better team health and morale, here’s a link to a summary of team health models and engagement tools you can explore to measure and visualize your team’s well-being.

Seeing The Big Picture of Team Health and Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a multifaceted concept influenced by factors such as team empowerment, clear focus, and leadership, at different levels of the organization. By recognizing the importance of these factors, organizations can create an environment where engagement thrives. Aligning products with value, organizing around value delivery, forming high-performing teams, and encouraging ownership all contribute to the bigger picture of employee engagement and can unlock the power of employee engagement for enhanced team performance.

How Not To Use Team Health Metrics and Visualizations

Employee engagement models aren’t meant for competition or comparison among teams. They are tools for support and improvement, not judgment. They should foster an attitude of “How can we help?” rather than “Why are you worse than the others?”

Moreover, these models should not be used as incentives for teams to game the system or appear better than they are. They are meant solely for team improvement.

What Next?

While there’s no direct path to engagement in the workplace, measuring and visualizing team health and morale can pave the way. By making the state of your teams’ health visible, you can create a plan to support their resilience and grit. Nurturing healthy environments that promote collaboration and innovation is key to long-term success.

So, don’t aim for happiness; aim for a strong constitution within your teams. Experiment with these models, gather data, visualize metrics, and learn from them. In doing so, you’re likely to find that happiness becomes a natural by-product of thriving, resilient, and healthy teams.

Earlier in the article, we hinted at the link between team health and performance. In the second part of this series, we’ll discuss key agile capabilities that have a positive impact on team performance.

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