How Bluebird Care is Creating a Happy Workplace with the Level 7 Programme

In: BlogDate: Aug 08, 2022By: Henry Stewart

Our Level 7 Senior Leadership programme is about significant change in how you run an organisation. It takes place over two years and is designed for senior leaders who want to make a real change to the culture of their organisation. Practical and hands on, you will learn how to increase trust and autonomy in your workplace.

Melanie Cohen, Director of Bluebird Care (Bournemouth & Poole), started the programme in April 2021. This is her story.

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Why did you join the Level 7 Senior Leadership Programme?

I have been very interested in developing my leadership skills and had read The Happy Manifesto as well as several other books around different styles of leadership. While lots of ideas resonated with me, I was finding it difficult to give time to properly develop them. I hadn’t considered taking part in a leadership programme until I saw Happy's Level 7 Senior Leadership Programme. When I saw the content and the approach, I knew that if I took part it would be the catalyst I needed and would make me set time aside and focus on what I was really passionate about developing.

What changes have you implemented as a result of the programme?

I have initiated lots of changes as a result of taking part in the programme. We have moved away from traditional styles of management and introduced the concept of self-managing teams, and have started to develop the skills and attitudes needed to make this work.

We work in a heavily regulated sector, where historically a top-down approach is an integral part of the expected way of operating. There is guidance for how to move away from this whilst remaining compliant and meeting the inspection criteria to be awarded an Outstanding rating. We have worked carefully on ways to evidence compliance using a self-audit system we have created that still allows autonomy for our team members. We have also launched new co-production initiatives to grow mastery and purpose across our team.

Many of our team members have taken to it really well and have become more engaged in team problem-solving and decision-making. We have also seen a rise in innovation, creativity, and confidence in bringing forward ideas.

We are now in the early days of a real transition. We have a lot less of a hierarchical structure, people are being encouraged and given more responsibility, there are more guidelines and less processes to give people more opportunity to take ownership and drive change. We encourage people to take credit for successes and learn lessons where things go wrong. The burden of failures is shared across the team rather than being blamed on one individual.

Our values are now communicated early on in the recruitment process to ensure that we are getting the right people whose values align with ours.

"A transformational journey"

Although I always knew it was important, I have now prioritised happiness at work. We have done a lot of benchmarking with around engagement and happiness at work and are digging a bit deeper now into how we can improve this within our organisation.

The programme itself is pretty fast-paced. Because the content is of such interest to me, I have loved all elements, and especially the guest speakers at some of our workshops. On reflection, I feel that for the first 10 months I was absorbing an incredible amount of information, using some of this to influence the work I was doing where the opportunity arose. I then reached a point of conscious incompetence which felt quite overwhelming and forced me to look more holistically at how I could implement my learning in all areas of my work.

I have found Happy’s Level 7 Senior Leadership programme really very good. It has done exactly what I wanted it to do for me. We use a lot of apprenticeship providers for social care programmes, but I was very clear that for this leadership journey and this experience, this was the programme I wanted.

I wanted a transformational journey, and it has delivered totally on that so far.

Find out more about the Level 7 Senior Leadership Programme

If you would like to apply for the Level 7 Senior Leadership programme, simply email me on I would be delighted to talk to you over Zoom or simply respond to your questions.

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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.

More by Henry

Next Conference: 2025 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 25th June!

Our 2024 event was our first ever hybrid event, and so we hope to run next year's in the same way. We will host up to 50 people face-to-face at Happy's HQ in Aldgate, London, and we can host up to 200 people online via Zoom. However you choose to join, there will be interaction, discussion, space for reflection and opportunities to network with others.

Stay tuned for full details of our speakers for next year's event. As always, our speakers share practical, hands-on ideas that you can implement to create happy and engaged workplaces.

Find out more