Measuring Employee Morale Over Time


How do you measure your startup employees' morale over time? The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment. Email your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to

No. 1: Quarterly Efficiency Audits From Derek Flanzraich of Greatist

Every quarter, I run what I call "efficiency audits" -- meetings where I ask employees specifically about their email management, daily and weekly schedules, priorities, happiness, sleep, health and fitness. Over time, I can compare how we're doing as a company; individually, I can track everyone's growth.

No. 2: Keep an Eye on Side Projects From Thursday Bram of Hyper Modern Consulting

If one of my team members is either pouring everything she's got into a side project or she doesn't have one at all, I consider that a warning sign for bad morale. I go through my team's side projects on a regular basis and, as long as there seems to be balance between what they're doing for me and what they're building for themselves, I don't worry too much.

No. 3: Always Stream Something Good From Jason Evanish of Greenhorn Connect

If your office includes employee-selected music playing, you can instantly gauge the morale by what's playing on the speakers. Generally, people are not going to be playing upbeat, happy music if they're depressed or upset. At a startup I once worked at, control of the music rotated, which made it easy to get a sampling of everyone's feelings as each person took a turn as DJ.

No. 4: Weekly Mini-Reviews From Arjun Arora of ReTargeter

Every Monday, everyone at my company fills out a short survey using 15five, describing what's gone well over the past week, what hasn't, and how happy they are. It's also a platform to make suggestions for how the company as a whole can improve. The survey takes a few minutes to answer, and it allows me to keep a pulse on what's going on with each individual and make sure everyone is thriving.

No. 5: Solicit Feedback on Tasks From Lucas Sommer of Audimated

I always try to include my employees in the discussion about what they will be working on. I try to find out if what they are doing is interesting to them and if they have ideas on it. When employees just start doing things only because you ask them to, it's usually a good sign that morale is decreasing. Try to repurpose or re-inspire your employees with things they want to be doing.

No. 6: Talk to Employees "Off the Clock" From Jordan Guernsey of Molding Box

The best measurements are taken during a one-on-one conversation over lunch or a beer. Get them out of the office and really see if the passion still exists when they’re “off the clock.”

No. 7: Anonymity Says It All From Logan Lenz of Endagon

We distribute an annual survey for each team member to answer about every other team member in the company anonymously. The surveys are filled with general questions based around dedication and skill levels, and offer an opportunity for others to suggest ways each team member can improve. Once they're all filled out, I meet with each person to go over the responses so they know where they stand.

No. 8: Is This Still Working For You? From Elizabeth Saunders of Real Life E®

On a periodic basis, I point blank ask, "Is this still working for you?" If someone is ready to move on to a new opportunity, I want to know and help them to reach their goals. It's important to care about individuals as people and to be willing to bless and release them when the time is right.

No. 9: Job Descriptions and Goal Sheets From Roger Bryan of RCBryan & Associates

The simple strategic solution to this is to know your employees goals, both personally and professionally, and then help them to reach those goals. Let them know they are not only an element of your goals but you are also an element of theirs. In many cases, their goals are not all that far-reaching, and by working with them to reach their goals, you'll have an employee for life.

No. 10: One-On-One Lunches From Peter Nguyen of Advertiser360

Every quarter, I have a one-on-one lunch with each employee with my VP of Internal Affairs. I let them choose the restaurant. I ask them to be transparent and upfront on how we can improve their work environment, their job and our company. I listen to their concerns and what they like. This is a great time for me to truly see what direction we can continue to improve on in the next quarter.

No. 11: Bring In a Specialist From Alfredo Atanacio of Uassist.ME

We have monthly one-on-one meetings with all of our team members, but we also get professional help every once in a while by having a psychologist come to the office and give us therapy.