The Happy Manifesto: 10 Steps to a Great Workplace

In: BlogDate: May 18, 2012By: Henry Stewart

The Happy Manifesto, my call for change in the way we work, has now been published. I’ve tried to get the message across as succinctly as possible (just 128 pages) but for those who want a quick summary, here are the 10 key points – each covered with examples and stories in the book:

Hi, we are Happy

We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.

How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?

More about Happy

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 people can take responsibility and ownership.

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, to enable people to innovate without fear

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.

When I first published this list I had just 9 points. But my good friend Clive Hutchinson, of Cougar Automation, complained that I had missed out the most important thing we taught them – to make sure you’ve got your people doing what they are best at. So now there are ten points. (Which also explains, in case you wonder when you read the book, why all the other points have a chapter on them but this one doesn’t!)


Keep informed about happy workplaces

Sign up to Henry's monthly Happy Manifesto newsletter, full of tips and inspiration to help you to create a happy, engaged workplace.

Sign up here

Learn the 10 core principles to create a happy and productive workplace in Henry Stewart's book, The Happy Manifesto.

Download for free


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