Here’s a quick exercise we call the 1-10 Litmus Test. We like to use it when measuring happiness at work. It’s quick and surprisingly effective.

Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, how happy or unhappy do I think our employees are?”

Write your number down on a sheet of paper.

What is your number?

Is it 7? We bet it is.

We ask this question a lot when measuring happiness at work. Believe it or not, it gives us a pretty good answer very quickly. Plus, since we’ve asked it so many times, and kept track of the answers, we have a pretty good grasp on the average. We generally ask CEOs, business owners, executive directors, chancellors and other leaders and 80% of the time, they answer 7.

Now you’re asking, “Okay, what’s the significance of 7?”

An answer of 7 usually represents a few thoughts…

  • Our company is good, but we’re not great.
  • I chose 7 because I really don’t know.
  • I chose 7 because I think we’re okay, but honestly, I’m not sure.
  • I chose 7 because I’m on the fence. Some employees are pretty content and others aren’t.

If you answered more than 7…

If your answer was 8 or above, you’re pretty bold. We like bold because it often means there’s a good chance you have a good culture. Unfortunately, we find that only 10% answer 8, 9 or even 10. (We wish that percentage was a lot higher…)

If you answered less than 7…

If your answer was below 7, more than likely there are elephants roaming around in your organization. You probably need to seek some outside help. We find that only 10% answer 6 or below.

Keep in mind, the answer comes from your perspective.  Also know, in many cases when we ask this of other people at the organization, leadership and management tend to answer 1-2 points higher than the rest of the team. 

Of course, we know this is a simple, on-the-spot test, but it does give a good sense as to whether or not you have some work to do on employee happiness. And, well, employee happiness is where it’s at.

If you’d like to dig deeper, discover what your team thinks and where your culture really stands (and to know how to improve your score) check out our Culture Audit. It may be the best thing you do for your company this year.