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Happier workplaces are better for people and for business

21 Nov 2011 | Action for Happiness

* Only 2% of people say they work just to pay the bills; Being happy at work is important for 90%. Yet over half of us are unhappy at work

* Today Happy Ltd and Action for Happiness are launching a new manifesto and calling for happier workplaces for all

* The evidence is clear: Happy workplaces are the most productive & successful

Today sees a call for radical change in the way we treat people at work, as Henry Stewart, founder of Happy Ltd, and Action for Happiness launch a new Manifesto for happier workplaces. A happy, fulfilling work environment isn't just great for staff, it also delivers huge benefits to business in terms of a more motivated workforce, improved productivity and ultimately better long-term financial performance.

"Imagine a workplace where you are energised and motivated by being in control of the work you do", explains Henry. "Imagine you are trusted and given freedom, with support, to decide how to achieve results. Imagine you can get the life balance you want. Imagine you are valued according to the work you do, not how many hours you spend at the desk."

"Wouldn't you want to work in such a place? Wouldn't it also enable you to work at your best and be most productive?"

An increasing number of companies are finding that focus on creating a happy workplace is just about the most important thing management can do:

This call for happier workplaces is part of a global movement for change. In the US Tony Hsieh, who sold his shoe retailer Zappos to Amazon for close to a billion dollars, has signed up thousands to his Delivering Happiness approach. In Denmark Chief Happiness Officer Alex Kjerulf has influenced many workplaces. In India 80,000 strong HCL shares the philosophy of "Employees first, customers second".

10 Steps to a Great Workplace

The simple points that can change workplaces and make them good places to be, and more productive too:

  1. Trust Your People. Step out of approval. Instead pre-approve and focus on supporting your people.
  2. Make Your People Feel Good. Make this the focus of management
  3. Give Freedom within Clear Guidelines. People want to know what is expected of them. But they want freedom to find the best way to achieve their goals
  4. Be Open and Transparent. More information means more people can take responsibility
  5. Recruit for Attitude, Train for Skill. Instead of qualifications and experience, recruit on attitude and potential ability
  6. Celebrate Mistakes. Create a truly no-blame culture
  7. Community: Create Mutual Benefit. Have a positive impact on the world and build your organisation too
  8. Love Work, Get a Life. The world, and your job, needs you well rested, well nourished and well supported
  9. Select Managers Who are Good at Managing. Make sure your people are supported by somebody who is good at doing that, and find other routes for those whose strengths are elsewhere. Even better, allow people to choose their managers
  10. Play To Your Strengths. Make sure your people spend most of their time doing what they are best at


"The Happy Manifesto: make your organisation a great place to work - now" is being launched on Monday 21st November, 6-8pm at Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row, London. EC1Y 8TZ. Book tickets here

"A wonderful book - a gripping read and so interesting, as well as wise. It is truly inspiring" Professor Lord Richard Layard

Henry Stewart  is founder and CEO of training company Happy Ltd. Happy have been rated the best company in the UK for customer service (by Management Today) and one of the best 20 workplaces in the UK for the last five years (Financial Times / Great Place to Work Institute). Henry himself is a popular business speaker and is listed in the guru radar


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