Creating a Happy Workplace at Heart of Kent Hospice

In: BlogDate: Sep 14, 2021By: Henry Stewart

Here are some ideas for creating a great culture from Sarah Pugh, now Chief Executive of Whizz Kidz, about her time as CEO at Heart of Kent Hospice — all taken from her talk at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference.

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Banish appraisals: "We had them for years, nobody was keen on them. Instead we use a snapshot three times a year, built around our behaviours and values and personal development."

Pets at work: "We let colleagues bring their pets into work in our Hospice. Definitely a way to help people feel happy and our patients loved them."

Liberating Structures: "I attended Happy's Liberating Structures workshop. They were revolutionary for me, to enable me to fully engage everybody in our meetings and events."  

Colleagues not staff: "Don't use the word staff. Use 'colleagues', it is just more adult-to-adult."

Stop making decisions: "Remove yourself as a leader from decision-making. Leave your people to make the key decisions."

Weekly survey: "We introduced a weekly happiness rating, just 4 questions: what's good, what's not, what's changed and how happy do you feel."

Key behaviours to fulfil the values: "I care. I learn. I own. I improve."

The key mindset: "I am curious about improving care."

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: "Continually reinforce the behaviours."

Share the book: "Once I discovered the Happy Manifesto, I gave it to all staff, at both HOKH and now at Whizz Kidz."

Freedom within boundaries: "Set the guidelines and give people freedom within them."

Break the rules: "Encourage colleagues to find the rules that don’t make sense, and banish them."

Need to feel valued, their health and wellbeing: Send thank you and birthday cards to every member of the team.

Create a safe space: Add a 'freedom to speak up' guardian — somebody to help someone who has a concern, they won’t do it for them but will support them through that process. 

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Next Conference: 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference

Our Happy Workplaces Conference is our biggest event of the year, and we'd love for you to join us on Wednesday 15th May.

This will be a hybrid event — we will host up to 50 people in the venue at Happy's HQ in Aldgate, London, and up to 200 people online via Zoom. The speakers will be a mix of online and in person. However you choose to join, there will be interaction, discussion, space for reflection and opportunities to network with others.

This year's event is CPD accredited, and speakers include Isaac Getz, Michele Zanini, Caron Bradshaw OBE and Michelle Hill.

Find out more

Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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