How do you measure the happiness of temporary staff?

Use our two-step ranking and questionnaire to effectively measure the happiness of your temporary staff.

Measuring the happiness of temporary staff can be a tricky pursuit, but surveys show that happy workers are 13% more productive1 so it is paramount that we know if our endeavours to foster workplace happiness are effective or where there is still room for improvement.

“Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts.”

- Unknown.

While no one is sure who said this, we do know that Einstein had this on his office wall to remind himself and his fellow scientists that there is a world beyond data.

Happiness falls into the grey area of data collection. To obtain a measure of happiness we can’t simply count the objective or tangible, like how many times a person smiles or how often they cry. There are too many influencing factors over these, but also, how do you decide what factors to measure? What is a display of happiness for one person may not be for another. Do they shed tears of joy, or tears of pain, tears of frustration or tears of sadness?

Instead, we must focus on measuring what is known as the subjective, something that can vary from person to person.

The problem with subjective well-being is that people’s expectations and ideals vary. Not being able to park their Ferrari could constitute a bad day for one person and leave them unhappy. While just borrowing, let alone owning a Ferrari, could constitute a great day to someone else. Parking issues thus become irrelevant.

It is important to remember that you will never escape variations in subjective data, and that data doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful. Even data that is flawed can provide insight into baselines, trends and correlations.

How to measure the happiness of Temporary staff

Step 1 - Indicator Ranking

Using a happiness indicator measure can determine what is important to your temporary staff. If you can see what is important to their happiness levels, you will know where to focus your efforts and, you can work on improving factors that will make an immediate difference.

A happiness indicator measure doesn’t need to be complicated, often the best approach is a straightforward one, this simple factor selection survey for example can provide some excellent insights.

Ask your temporary staff to choose 10 factors from this list, and rank them in the order of importance:

  1. Clarity on goals and targets set.
  2. Feeling valued as an individual.
  3. Pay level, perks and benefits.
  4. Doing a job that you enjoy.
  5. Autonomy for your own deadlines.
  6. Responsibility for your own work.
  7. Recognition for a job well done.
  8. Collaborative working on larger projects.
  9. Healthy work-life balance.
  10. Inclusive, transparent and communicative environment.
  11. Trust in your colleagues.
  12. Management lead by example and are good role models.
  13. Career development opportunities.
  14. Skill development and training.
  15. Varied and interesting work.
  16. Flexible working to suit your needs.

Once your data is compiled, you should have a list of the top 10 factors that matter most to your temporary workforce.

measuring temp worker happiness

Step 2 - Self-reporting Questionnaires

Now that you understand what is important to your temporary staff, you can obtain a baseline of how well you are performing on each of those factors, using a self-reporting questionnaire.

The questions that you include in your employee happiness questionnaire should align with the top factors that matter most to your temporary workforce, as revealed in the indicator ranking exercise. Here is an example questionnaire that you can easily adapt to suit your own environment or workforce:

Answer the following questions on a scale of 1 to 7.

  • 1 = no/negative/least
  • 7 = yes/positive/most
  1. Can you see a clear link between your work and the strategic goals of the business?
  2. How valued do you feel as an individual? Are you satisfied with your pay and benefits?
  3. Are you doing a job that you enjoy? Do you have adequate control of your deadlines?
  4. Do you have adequate levels of responsibility? Do you receive recognition for good work?
  5. Do you have the opportunity to work collaboratively? Do you feel you have a healthy work-life balance?
  6. Do you feel this is an inclusive, transparent and communicative environment?
  7. Do you trust your colleagues?
  8. Do you value your leaders?
  9. Are you provided with clear and achievable career development opportunities?
  10. Are you provided with skill development & training opportunities?
  11. Do you feel that your work is varied & interesting?
  12. Are you able to work flexibly?

Top tip: A simple scoring system of one to seven allows people to place themselves in the middle of the scale, at number four if appropriate, preventing the undecided from under or over scoring.

So, although happiness is intangible and variable, measuring happiness indicators and linking them directly to factors found in the workplace, can help initiate positive change and increase the productivity of your temporary workforce.

how do you measure temp worker happiness
Find out how to improve staff productivity and happiness

In this series, we are looking to unlock the secrets behind empowering, engaging and motivating your entire workforce with the power of happiness. Often under-represented within existing productivity and business development guidance, Blue Arrow believes that temporary workers are an integral part of the wider workforce driving businesses. 

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