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Aaron Hurst: The Most Important Leadership Question

by Aaron Hurst | shared from LinkedIn

“Hi. How are you?”

I must say it a dozen times per day if not more.The typical response – “Hi, Aaron.”

As a CEO I genuinely want to know how people are doing but it can be really hard to gauge the well-being of the team. I can read body language pretty well and that helps but with teams around the country and working mostly outside the office, I only get a small sample.

Matt Stinchcomb, Etsy’s vice president of Values and Impact, had a similar challenge and found a brilliant way to begin to understand the well-being of the Etsy team. Partnering with Dr. Peggy Kern at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Positive Psychology and the design firm Imperative, he leveraged the PERMA measurement framework — a self-assessment tool developed by Dr. Martin Seligman — that quantifies positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment — to gauge the well-being of Etsy employees.

Nearly 85% of Etsy’s employees participated, including 24 teams across five offices around the world. They are now using the data to help inform the design of their employee experience and working to roll out the next phase of the initiative.

Etsy is one of a small but growing number of companies today that are taking the well-being of their employees seriously. They have seen first-hand that employee well-being is critical to success and with new tools created by firms like Imperative they can bake it into their business practices and measures.

“How am I doing?” After taking the PERMA assessment, I can say with confidence that I am great. Thanks for asking.

Photo credit: Matt Stinchcomb

Excerpted in part from my new book, The Purpose Economy, due out in September.

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