Henry Stewart’s Blog

Catch up with the latest thoughts from our CEO on management, politics and making organisations great places to work.

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Great work by our young Drupal apprenticeships

For the last twelve months Happy Computers has been running a Drupal apprenticeship programme, in partnership with the Drupal community, to enable young people (fresh out of school) to get an exciting start in the world of programming. (Drupal is an open source web development framework.) Three of the youngsters have been working at Dennis Publishing and, ... more

Happy Workplaces 2014 on Storify

Some versions of Internet Explorer refuse to display the Storify content on this page. If you don’t see lots of tweets and photos here, don’t worry. Just go direct to Storify for the full story! more

Think Big – like Google

At the Happy Workplace 2013 conference Yvonne Agyei (Google Head of Benefits) explained Google’s Think Big philosophy. Or as she put it, “have a healthy disregard for the impossible”. Watch the video: Yvonne Agyei (Think Big is from 12:12 to 16:31) Yvonne explained how 4 years ago she went to the Board, as the newly appointed Head ... more

Reduce expense claims: let your people decide what to spend

In his excellent book “Becoming a Better Boss“, Julian Birkinshaw describes a very interesting experiment at the pharma multi-national Roche. Two groups of staff, in Germany and Switzerland, were told that their travel claims were to become self-authorised. Instead of being approved in advance and signed off afterwards, each employee would decide for themselves what was ... more

One million pounds to spend and nobody is interested

Happy is moving. A month ago, just before the deadline for the landlord’s break clause approached, a law clerk arrived at our office and served a notice to quit. The landlord plans to redevelop the building and we have to be out of our office by 30th October. This has led to great excitement here. It ... more

Is this a government committed to small business?

Today David Cameron will claim his government has delivered on supporting small businesses. I’m sorry, Prime Minister, but  I don’t see it. Your government’s direct attacks on small business has cost my company in excess of £200,000 a year. Cameron will apparently claim that he has abolished 800 regulations. I will be interested to hear what ... more

8 Companies That Don’t Have Managers

At Happy we let people choose their managers, an idea which has been seen as very radical when I’ve spoken about it (eg, on Radio 4 last year). However there are companies that have gone a step further and got rid of managers altogether. Some are small but some are billion-dollar companies: 1) Zappos: The US ... more

SouthWest Airlines shows putting your people first makes good business sense

The annual UK Servant Leadership conference this month was an inspiring event. This movement is based around the idea, first promoted by Robert Greenleaf, that your purpose as a leader or manager is to serve your people. One example of how this makes simple business sense is SouthWest Airlines, which is clear in its commitment to ... more

Get more great ideas – spend less time at work

Last week I was in Barcelona speaking to the international conference of the Dogs Trust, and exploring overwork. I asked a simple question of everybody there: Think of a great idea you’ve had in the last year? Where did you get that idea? The answers included “in the bar”, “in the shower” and “walking the dog”. Out ... more

One simple step to be more productive – today

Have you noticed how in some organisations people seem stressed and overloaded and complain of too much work, but nothing much seems to get done? Yesterday I had a meeting at Google, which always appears to be the opposite. Everybody is  relaxed, helpful and friendly and yet they are incredibly productive. Is there a lesson here? ... more