“You cannot improve what you do not measure.” This is what I wrote the first time I asked our team at Aha! to evaluate our own company. I wanted to know how people really thought and felt. Not just polite conversation — honest opinions. So, we sent out our first Employee Lovability Survey. What does that mean? Good question.

My co-founder Dr. Chris Waters and I always wanted to create a place where people would love to work and love their work. The goal of the survey was to confirm if we were on track.

I wrote about the concept of company and employee love in my bestselling book Lovability. It is based on our experience building Aha! — which is now one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S.

So, what is lovability? The quick answer is that lovability means creating a place where people can do meaningful work and be happy doing it. For some, that means crafting brilliant marketing strategy and launching breakthrough marketing campaigns, or focusing intently on how to manage customer feedback. For others, it might mean working remotely. However, this is not easy to achieve — it requires a deep commitment from you and your company.

To help with this, I included a lovability toolkit with surveys at the end of the book, including an employee survey. This is the same one that we use with our team. But it is not specific to Aha! — the questions are all based on the essential traits of a lovable company.

On a scale of 1 to 5, our entirely distributed team anonymously rated whether Aha! provided meaningful work, growth opportunities, and all-around happiness. There was also space to leave any additional comments. We shared the answers when we gathered in person at our company onsite meeting.

Obviously, we set out with an ambitious goal and knew that it would be a journey. Not every day can be a joy — even at the best companies.

Thankfully, the score pointed to love. But it also revealed opportunities for more love. People were working exceptionally hard and were grateful for the opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing company, but they needed a little more time to refresh. So, we listened and extended our vacation policy by providing more personal time off. 

Your company may not be asking you how “lovable” it is — but hopefully leaders in your organization are asking for your feedback. Even if they are not, this is a great time of year for self-reflection and gauging if the place where you spend most of your time still serves you.

So I will turn the question back to you — do you love your company?

No need to wait for your employer to ask for feedback — you can find out right now. Below is a sample of the Employee Lovability Survey. (The full survey with all 11 questions is available in the book.)

Have purpose: You know what you are working towards. You are aware of what success is and guided back to the purpose if you wind up in the weeds.

Value work: You have the opportunity to achieve and to do something important. Doing great work is valued and recognized.

Teach hard: Direct feedback is given on a regular basis to help you improve your skills every day.

Grows talent: There is a framework for success, people are trained on it and given room to grow. There is trust that people will step into challenging roles as the organization needs them to. Promotions occur from within.

Honor reality: Neither time nor money is invested in manipulation. Work is guided by values and purpose.

Work it: Work sometimes requires great effort. However, it does not burn you out but instead keeps you going.

Rank the presence of each of these “lovable” characteristics on a 1-5 scale. A 1 means that your company does not really care about the principle — a 5 means the company embodies that trait every day.

Now, look at your scores. Do you love your job? Does your company love you back?

For traits that you rated below 3, reflect on how you could boost the score next year. For example, if you gave “teach hard” a low score, you could increase that rating by asking your manager about taking a class or extra training. You are ultimately responsible for your own happiness at work, but leaders must step up too.

If you are a leader in the organization, be honest with how you would rate your own lovability. Do what you can to boost every score. And continually ask the team for feedback in these areas.

When company leaders ask these meaningful questions and take action on the answers, they can build a lovable organization — a place where people are engaged in meaningful work and feel respected.

This is lovability. And it is something our team aspires to every day.  

What other characteristics make a company lovable?

Originally published on the Aha! blog