With Kiwi Dials, you can share your perspective on Professional Growth, Independence, or any one of 25 other dimensions of engagement by rating it on a scale of 1 to 5. Lately, we've heard some discussion of what each number means.

The simplest answer is to say that 1 is the worst and 5 is the best score. All the others fall somewhere in between. Our earliest prototypes included words to help define the scale.

5 = Excellent

4 = Good

3 = Neutral

2 = Poor

1 = Terrible

We learned that the words we used had an impact on how people responded, and that impact varied based on an organization's culture. For example, some teams reported that it felt unacceptable to ever characterize anything as "terrible" and so nobody ever responded with a 1. That meant that the sensitivity of the tool was reduced, since the possible ranges of responses was narrower than respondents in other companies, and was also inflated in comparison.

We heard that some users were worried that the rest of their team might misinterpret the team's scores as being worse or better than they intended. While that's a possibility, we’ve designed the system to inspire safe discussion rather than an absolute judgment.

For example, one team we spoke with scored relatively high on Fun and Purpose, but quite low on Work/Life Balance. When they talked about it, it turned out that, since this was a startup team, this aligned pretty well with everyone’s expectation. They agreed that if Fun or Purpose declined without a corresponding improvement in Work/Life Balance, they should revisit. They also agreed to minimize email among the team on weekends, especially from managers. Work/Life Balance improved over the following weeks.

In the end, specific scores aren’t particularly meaningful by themselves. Comparing one dial against another or over time can give you some great insights, regardless of the scale any one respondent uses. As long as each respondent thinks about the scale in a consistent way, the dials can provide insight and highlight areas that warrant further discussion.

These discussions are where the real value lies, and because votes are always anonymous, it makes it easier for teams to respond to the data dispassionately, without assigning blame or discounting the results based on inter-personal biases.

So, feel free to project whatever definition on the dials that makes sense to you, as long as 5 is the best and 1 is the worst, Kiwi Dials will still work well.