Conversations, Not Comparisons

Laura-Jane Booker
Laura-Jane Booker | November 17, 2020
Conversations, Not Comparisons

When our customers first start using Joyous, they are curious about how they compare to other organisations on response rates, average scores, and Joyous adoption.

That’s perfectly understandable! However, we believe there’s only one organisation that our customers should be comparing themselves to, and that’s their own.

Using benchmarks to compare your organisation to others may lead you down a rabbit hole away from meaningful progress. Here are four reasons focusing on benchmarks can lead you astray:

1. Responses to questions are time-relevant 🕒

Joyous questions are sent to different companies on different days, weeks, and months of the year. When a question is asked affects how the question is responded to. Why? Factors such as mood, time of day, day of the week and global pandemics.

We've all learnt that the state of the world has a significant effect on the goings-on at work. And so, comparing your work-related stress score in December 2019 to another company's work-related stress score in March 2020 becomes irrelevant. Sure, there's only a four-month time difference, but a lot can happen in four months...

The same goes for comparing your company's scores across time. If you find your scores have decreased, consider what was happening at the time the questions were asked. Perhaps the company was in the middle of a restructure or working from home during a lockdown.

2. Your company is unique 🦄

Our customer base is diverse. We have leaders and working people conversing all over the globe 🌏.

With that comes different challenges, environmental factors, ways of working, and demographics (e.g. size, industry, gender, age, religion, culture, ethnicity, location etc). All of these things affect the way people approach and interact with Joyous.

No other company has your people, your triumphs, your trials and tribulations, therefore...

"Nothing compares 2 U"


3. Questions aren't always the same 🚫

Though Joyous offers structured conversation sets, we also enable our customers to adjust questions to suit their audience. Therefore, the same question or topic may be asked in different ways.

These two questions are currently used to measure workload in different companies:

  1. My current workload allows me to take time off when I want to.
  2. My workload is fair and manageable.

Both are measuring the same underlying topic but shouldn't be treated as the same question as they can elicit different responses.

4. Continuous Improvement 📈

When you look at the goals, KPIs, and objectives of a team, department, or organisation, what you'll commonly see is an aspiration to do better than before.

What benchmarks can do is derail people or groups from this mindset. Hitting a benchmark becomes the end goal so what happens once it's reached...? You run the risk of benchmarks encouraging mediocrity. You've achieved your set goal so no longer strive to be better.

"If you are patting yourselves on the back because you have achieved the industry average, you have given up".

Mike Carden - CEO, Joyous

So then, what does good look like?

It's a question we're often asked and in fact, the answer is very simple...

Good is a score or responsiveness that is better than last time

If your average score for a particular category or topic is better than the previous score, then you're doing A-okay 👌 If your leader response rates are increasing, fantastic! If change is occurring as a result of conversations then congratulations, you're doing bloody excellent 👍

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be this:

Don't put your focus on scores. Focus on conversations, not comparisons. Think of scores as clues that help you figure out which conversations you need to be paying the most attention to.

Conversations will provide you context that numbers simply cannot. Participating in conversations and listening to what people are saying will allow you to make both instant and long-term changes. This is ultimately what Joyous is all about: making everyone feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback that sparks action 🎇

For tips on how to increase your participation rate, read The Joyous Approach to Improving Participation