Measuring Your Team’s Wellness

Published: September 24, 2019

How do you know if your team is operating in a healthy workplace culture? Measurement seems subjective, at best. The task of capturing reliable metrics on team effectiveness involves knowing what to measure and how to measure it. Consider the ways teammates interact and evaluate those exchanges on a scale from function to dysfunction. Now, take a snapshot of the pervasiveness of the wellness or the sickness. Does everyone on the team feel this way or just a few outliers? Is the team unified or split into factions? How do we acquire this data?

Begin by deciding what interactions are valuable to measure. Here are a few domains for consideration:

  • Unspoken norms guiding the way we treat each other.
  • Alignment with the group’s values and direction.
  • The constructiveness with which we manage conflict and differences of perspective.
  • Exchange of respect and professionalism.
  • Mutual accountability for a safe and trusting environment.
  • The degree of connection and collaboration between teammates.
  • The extent to which we harness diversity to fuel innovation.
  • Our appetite for taking smart risks.
  • The effectiveness of our coping skills under stress.
  • Our ability to refuel and refocus following a change.

For each domain, simply give your team a rating from 1 to 5 where “1” represents unhealthy interaction and “5” reflects healthy exchange. So, in a quick glance, how is your team doing? What are the areas of glaring strength and weakness? Can you leverage the strength to address the weakness? What challenges should we tackle first?

Much of this depends on the pervasiveness of the problem. If everyone on the team agrees about a team vulnerability, the motivation to solve the problem will enjoy consensus. If only a few outliers are trumpeting the pain, you might have to give voice to the minority. If the team has, for some reason, divided into “us” vs. “them” factions, you may have to go back to the drawing board and find clarity about the mission, values and vision that anchors the foundation of the team.

Ask three questions:

  1. Where are we in “The 4 Stages of a Team?”
  2. Why are we in this stage?
  3. What actions should we take to move our team forward?
Illustrated graphic of The 4 Stages of a Team cycle
Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.