Measuring what matters

Snapshot of our Dominion Public Building T-shirt,  available online .

Snapshot of our Dominion Public Building T-shirt, available online.


I responded to a thread recently about measurement — and I realized it could be a good accidental blog post!

Here’s our philosophy around measurement at rTraction — feel free to borrow any of these ideas.

We have tried to avoid measuring people’s happiness-either ours our a client’s. An update as to where we’re at in that journey is below.

Original post:

Be careful around measuring anyone’s “happiness” — whether or not a person is happy is ultimately not within our control and may be confounded by experiences both inside and outside of your organization. Look at what you can control and measure that. We chose to align ours questions to our core values — for example, in our recent internal survey we asked the following questions:

  • My organization’s work positively impacts people’s lives.

  • My organization operates in a socially responsible manner.

  • My organization is dedicated to diversity and inclusion.

  • On this team, we proactively identify future challenges and opportunities

  • I am able to make decisions affecting my work.

  • Teammates take the initiative to help each other when the need arises

  • Communication between senior leaders and employees is good in my organization

  • Senior management and employees trust each other

  • Employees treat each other with respect

  • I understand how my work impacts the organization’ business goals

  • I have the opportunities to apply my talents and expertise.

  • I am inspired to meet my goals at work.

  • I believe my workplace has a positive, healthy culture

  • My organization has a safe work environment

  • I am satisfied with my overall job security.

  • We then asked: What should we start doing, stop doing, continue doing and for anything we missed.

The theory with the above is that if we control all of those things to the best of our ability, we’ve given what we can give to create an environment where the person can be happy in thrive. It gives us an opportunity to look at specific areas where an employee may not be as engaged. If you ask people “How do you like being at work” they may say, generally, “good” — but the one item like “opportunities to apply my talents and expertise” may eventually grind away and cause them to pursue other employment.

Similarly, we avoid asking clients how “happy” they are — the questions we ask at the end of a project are:

  • Did our work on this project help you to improve outcomes in the community/market you serve?

  • Throughout the project, did you feel that our team operated in your best interests?

  • How well did our team understand your goals for this project?

  • Did we meet your expectations?

  • Throughout this project did we bring new ideas / challenge your assumptions?

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with rTraction?

  • How likely is it that you would recommend rTraction to a friend or colleague?

During a project we ask the following at each client meeting: Are we meeting your expectations for delivering a successful project?

This allows us to adjust midstream if there’s a problem

Last, but not least, the B Corporation community has done a lot of work around “measuring what matters” — you can use the impact assessment (it’s free) without becoming a B Corporation. It has been very, very helpful in helping us to understand where we are strong and where we can improve from an impact perspective.

If you have any tips to “Measure what matters”, add them below in the comments!

I’ve added the ability to join a mailing list of this type of content if you’re interested — please sign up using this form.