How the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn increases work happiness based on data
More and more innovative organizations are convinced, work happiness is winning! For the employee, manager and top management. But work happiness is not a goal in itself, it is a result of a positive and productive working environment. (HR) professionals are therefore busy finding answers to the question: How can you shape this in a sustainable and effective way?
2DAYSMOOD cooperates with innovative organizations to reach and maintain that working environment in a data-driven and people-oriented way. En example of this is the creation of the BUZZ tool (translation of BRUIS meter), a collaboration project between 2DAYSMOOD and the Labor Market & Development Fund for Municipalities (translation of A&O Fonds Gemeenten). Using this measuring tool, all municipalities in the Netherlands can gauge the status of vitality among their employees in a quick and simple way.
The municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn also innovates as an employer. Since January 2019, they have been working with 2DAYSMOOD and our continuous measuring method of mood and engagement. Below, Rita Blankenberg, HR advisor at the municipality, explains how the tool works and which benefits it provides.
“The look and feel is happy and the data is usable! Thanks to the continuous feedback and breakdown into teams, you know exactly what you can improve.”
Why did you start using this tool?
“We are working on an organizational and cultural change. In short, it comes down to this: we want to be more agile, get more work done with our own colleagues and keep the responsibility as low as possible in the organization. To achieve this, we work in teams instead of departments and we have assignments instead of vacancies. If there is a new assignment, anyone can register for it based on their competencies. So it may be that you are working together with a colleague from finance and an HR colleague on an assignment that is about digitization.
In addition, we want to perform pulse measurements throughout the organization, to find out in shorter cycles whether we have achieved our goals. So that also applies to the topic of work happiness. Such a weekly short survey fits perfectly in our strategy. ”
Read more about the impact of work happiness here.
What do you use the tool for?
“Employees receive the survey via an app or email. It always starts with the question: how is it going? And then: why is that? These are the general questions to gauge the mood. But you can also choose deep-dive or self-made questions, to get insight into the topics that drive people’s engagement and happiness. Takes employees very little time, but is very valuable to the organization. The results are collected and presented in the so-called 2DAYSMOOD dashboard that the team leader, HR Business Partner or the team itself can see.
There you see that the results may change over time. For example, team members experiencing more job satisfaction from the moment a new way of working has been introduced. Or that the stress level has a peak every year at the same time for (some) teams. If you know that, you can investigate what the causes are and develop a solution.”
Can you give a practical example?
“The engagement driver ‘Leadership’ was rated low in our baseline measurement. Then you immediately think: what are our managers doing wrong? But first, we used the tool to ask deeper questions in the weeks that followed. Then we saw three interesting things: colleagues felt that a lot was asked of them and the workload was high. But they evaluated the relationship with their manager as good and the working atmosphere as safe. So the managers talked about this with their team members. It emerged that colleagues found it difficult to say ‘no’ and actually burdened themselves with too much work.
So we took two actions: to discuss the amount and distribution of work, and to include personal leadership in training courses for employees. This way you get a professional culture in which work pressure and happiness are discussed. That is a lot better than grumbling at each other about too high a workload.”
“Our goal is for employees to rate their employer an 8 out of 10. We measure that by asking the eNPS question once every quarter.”
Do you have an idea of how high the level of work happiness should be?
“Absolutely. That is why we have made it a KPI, an organizational goal. As a result, we measure more specifically and we get more concrete results. And it shows colleagues that happiness at work is important for everyone and is taken very seriously by the organization. Our goal is for employees to assess their employer with an 8. We measure this by asking the eNPS question once every quarter: how likely is it, on a scale of 1 to 10, that you would recommend the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn as a good employer to friends and family? ”
Read more here about why your eNPS is a KPI but not an external benchmark.
How do you ensure that employees complete the survey every week?
“Success is not guaranteed with just purchasing a tool. You have to seduce your colleagues, motivate them and show them what your purpose is. And always circle back on the results are: don’t wait too long to give back feedback. Filling in takes only 15 seconds, but if colleagues don’t hear about it for too long, they drop out. They take the trouble to give feedback, so they also expect something back. It helps if you set goals for what you want to measure, because then you have more concrete results to communicate about.
You also have to invest in culture. If employees and supervisors are not used to talking about work happiness, you cannot do much with the results of the surveys. That is why we train managers in coaching and our employees in personal leadership.”