Asking the Question – Are you Happy or Not?

Providing people with the opportunity to let us know how they’re feeling has always been an important part of our workplace culture, and we’ve used a variety of different mechanisms to do this over the years, ranging from in person and electronic discussion forums to survey tools with both fixed and customisable content.

One of the challenges with surveys is the time they take, and the lag time in receiving and analysing results.  In recent years we’ve moved away from fixed content surveys, as while they deliver benefits in having consistent statistical information, the questions are not always the ones you want to ask, and the way people interpret each question tends to be open to variation.

Customisable surveys have provided a better opportunity to ask the questions that you feel are most relevant at that time, but still require significant time to craft the questions,  then a further lag while people complete the survey and interpret and circulate the results.

Courtesy of one of our clients, we recently came across a great tool called Happy or Not that allows us to ask a simple question of anyone who is walking past one of the units. They hit the button that best reflects their feelings about the question asked, and we get a report that night showing how many people participated and how they responded.  The level of reporting available can be very detailed, broken down by unit, by hour, by day, allowing you to see trends across time periods and locations in pretty much any permutation and combination that you like.

With two new sites opening, we thought these provided an ideal way to quickly check how people were feeling about their new locations.  Shifting large numbers of people, particularly in sites with very busy workloads, can be a very challenging exercise, and we wanted a way to be able to quickly see how people were feeling.   Clearly in addition to these units we were also speaking to people, but not everyone feels comfortable speaking up, and this provides an anonymous way for them to express their feelings.  We were also conscious that at times it can be easy to be swayed by a few very vocal ‘squeaky wheels’, and this tool delivers a way to help determine whether they are truly representing the feelings of the majority or not.

The results below were the summary of our first week in our new head office, and we were delighted to see how positively people were feeling in general.  We’re working to understand what is making people feel ‘red faced’ to see if it relates to things that we can address or influence, but know that on any given day there are always going to be things that some people are just not happy about.  It’s definitely been a conversation starter too, and there have been some interesting revelations about how people are interpreting the questions (& in some cases confessing that they hadn’t even been aware there was a question, they’ve just been pushing the button that reflects how they are feeling about life in general!!)


This week we decided to mix it up a bit and have a bit of fun, so on Wednesday the question we asked was “How will you feel when Queensland are victorious in State of Origin tonight?”. I was interstate on Wednesday (not for the match I might add!) but had reports coming in all day outing our new CFO Ross, a former New South Welshman, who was spotted pushing the red button whenever he passed one of the units!

Sad to say it was Ross who was wearing the happy face on Thursday morning, but there’s still the decider to come….


The next step sees us send the units out to some of our sites, where we will use them in both internal and external facing scenarios.  At Epic Pharmacy locations within hospitals we believe they’ll provide a great opportunity to seek feedback from  hospital team members around how they’re feeling about our services, and in Icon Cancer Care centres they’ll allow our patients to easily let us know how they’ve felt about their experience there.

Whatever mechanism you use, giving people the opportunity to tell you what they think is a critical component of  building and maintaining a great culture, and for us Happy or Not is proving to be a fun and useful addition to our feedback tools.

Newer Story:

The importance of June 30

June 28, 2015

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