How Happy Is Your Team Member?

A Quiz to Help Well-Being, Productivity and Retention

How Happy Is Your Team Member?  - A Quiz to Help Well-Being, Productivity and Retention

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Are they jumping for joy, or heading for a fall?

It's important that all of your people are happy and satisfied in their jobs. They'll likely be more creative, productive and ambitious, and they'll work together better. Happy team members will also want to stay! But how well do you understand what's going on in your team – can you be sure that negativity isn't brewing in the background?

Unhappy employees may dislike being at work, and you'll find managing them more difficult. Poor punctuality, high turnover, and absenteeism could become a problem, which would cost your organization dearly.

This quiz will help you tease out issues, person by person, so you can deal with them promptly and effectively. You'll also be able to spot trends across the team.

A Team of Many Parts

Work through this quiz as many times as you have team members, thinking about just one of them each time. For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes your team member. Try to answer questions as you really see them rather than how you think you should, and don't worry if some questions seem to score in the "wrong direction." When you are finished, click the "Calculate My Total" button at the bottom of the test, and take a look at the advice and links that follow.

Your last quiz results are shown.

You last completed this quiz on , at .

18 Statements to Answer

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
1 He or she contributes nothing to team meetings.
2 They approach me unprompted to share their opinions.
3 They don't put their hand up for training to develop a new skill.
4 They don't smile.
5 Their work matches the organization's values and mission.
6 They go beyond the responsibilities in their job description.
7 I celebrate their good work.
8 They attend team social events.
9 They show no interest in career advancement.
10 They express anger or frustration.
11 They get on well with their colleagues.
12 Their work is creative.
13 They are late.
14 Senior colleagues are accessible and will listen to them.
15 They are keen to enter industry or organization awards when they come up.
16 Their productivity is lower than expected.
17 They sit by themselves.
18 They show little motivation.
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment

It is likely this team member is unhappy at work, with little to satisfy them, but plenty to dissatisfy. Their work output is minimal and its quality is poor – when they actually turn up! It might not be long before they leave. The cause might be poor relationships with their colleagues, their attitude to their work, or their inability to look at the wider context of what they are doing. But there are plenty of tools to help you turn the situation around. (Read below to start.)


Your team member is not at their most happy but you can glimpse some positivity. Have a look through your answers more closely to pinpoint where they scored lowest. Focus your energy here and you'll likely see a rapid improvement in their well-being and productivity. (Read below to start.)


Great! Your team member appears to be happy at work. They're a great team player but also engaged enough in their own work to get on well by themselves, too. Their quantity and quality of work is high, and they have a strong sense of the wider context and meaning for their role. But don't be complacent. Keep working with them to help maintain their motivation and to ensure you don't lose them. This is particularly important if they're actually masking unhappiness and putting all their energies into work. They'll need your support to keep going. (Read below to start.)

We based our questions on Martin Seligman's PERMA model, which has five essential elements to experiencing long-lasting happiness:

  1. Positive emotions.
  2. Engagement.
  3. Positive relationships.
  4. Meaning.
  5. Accomplishment/Achievement.

The idea is that, the more your people display these five features, the happier they're likely to be. So let's look at these elements in detail, and see how they relate to the quiz and to your team member.

Positive Emotions

(Questions 4, 10, 13, 18)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

You'll likely associate this characteristic with happiness the most easily. Feelings such as energy, pleasure, hope, and contentment are essential for our well-being. So if your team member is having trouble smiling, or controlling their anger, or seems lethargic, then it is likely that they are unhappy.

Why is this important? Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build theory says that positive emotions at work strengthen team bonds, improve morale, boost productivity, and encourage innovation, among other things.

But what can you do about it? Start by using Frederick Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory to work through the factors that can cause job dissatisfaction. Then look at those characteristics essential for job satisfaction that should, in turn, result in more positive emotions.

Work genuine praise into your interactions. The Losada Ratio says that we should try to balance one piece of negative feedback with three pieces of positive, to prevent a colleague feeling dejected. This model's statistical basis is questionable, but it's certain that saying "thank you" will show your appreciation, and it will lift their spirits.

Another simple way to bring positivity into your team member's working day is ensure that they have a healthy, vibrant workplace. For example, is the lighting good, has everyone got enough space to work in, and are there adequate refreshment facilities? Encourage some personalization too – a few family photos could bring the office alive.


(Questions 1, 6, 12, 16)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

An unhappy person will struggle to get into the "zone." They'll find it hard to really engage in their work and this often shows in lower productivity, uncreative work, and time wasted on social media. But when they are fully engaged, they'll enter that state of "flow" where little can distract them.

Engagement starts with strong communication. Use team briefings to outline tasks clearly and to keep everyone up to date on what's happening in the organization. Be honest: if your team member trusts that you share everything you can, they'll feel more involved and connected, and see a reason to stay around.

Minimize distractions so that they can focus on their work. Encourage them to turn off their phone, find a quieter room to work in, or try out time management tools.

Do they know exactly how to do their work, or are there frustrations and mistakes? Ensure they have the equipment, training and development they need to keep on top of their role and improve their skills.

Daniel Pink points out, in his book "Drive," that we are more engaged when we have some autonomy. Encourage your employee to think about how they could shape their job to make it more "theirs" and you'll likely see them blossom.

Positive Relationships

(Questions 2, 8, 11, 17)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

If your team member spends most of their waking hours with their colleagues, they'll need to get on with them. Otherwise, their days will drag by or become very stressful.

Of course, you cannot force people to be friends, but you can certainly help create a cooperative and kind atmosphere. You can also build trust by creating a forum for people to voice opinions without fear of reprisal.

Together with your team member, find ways to share in what Margaret Heffernan calls "social capital." For example, consider making it a rule that no one eats at their desk but instead mixes with other teams in a communal cafe area. Encourage your team member to spend time with their co-workers outside work, too. Could they organize a lunch out or a team-building away day?

Remember that your job is also to manage team conflict appropriately, and to minimize the negative effects of office politics. Some people will change jobs rather than face a daily battle.


(Questions 5, 7, 14)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Many of us want to know that we're working for a greater purpose, so help your team member to understand where their role fits into the bigger picture.

Ensure they receive any feedback from satisfied customers or senior managers, and let them know how a project they worked on has contributed to company performance. Use Business Storytelling to inspire them!

Be sure to explain mission and vision statements to connect their individual goals with the team's and organization's, and use Management by Objectives to keep them on track.

If your organization has a corporate social responsibility program, show them the positive effect your organization has on the community, and make it easy for them to volunteer time to help. This is a great way to raise morale and support a greater cause at the same time.


(Questions 3, 9, 15)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

We all tend to feel happier if we know that we're meeting our responsibilities and doing well. So be sure to recognize any "small wins" that your team member makes towards their objectives each day.

Use SMART and meaningful goals to focus their attention, and ensure they are rewarded when they've achieved these goals. This reward doesn't have to be financial. A simple "thank you" for a job well done will set the tone for everyone else to follow – but if a celebration is in order, go for it!

Practice Management by Walking Around and try to "catch" them doing things right, rather than wrong, as Ken Blanchard advises.

They might be ambitious for new responsibilities or promotion. If the company structure limits formal progression, try setting them stretch goals so that they don't become bored, and everyone benefits from their potential.

Key Points

Use this quiz to help you find out how happy your team member is in the workplace. Then you can more easily gauge her well-being and identify ways of strengthening her productivity, while improving your chance of keeping her. The PERMA model provides five factors to measure and target: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment/achievement.

(Note that this quiz is a navigational construct, designed to help readers find the tools that will help them most. It is not intended to be a validated psychometric instrument.)

This assessment has not been validated and is intended for illustrative purposes only. It is just one of a large set that helps you evaluate your abilities in a wide range of important career skills. Click here for other self-tests.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

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