Decision-Making at happy

Happy is a democratic workplace, with decisions made across all levels by the company as a whole or by the individuals that will be impacted.

New ideas by team members are implemented using Pre-Approval.

Find out more about the decision-making process and Pre-Approval below.

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Our people are involved in all decisions, large and small. Everyone in the company is asked to vote on decisions that involve the company finances, such as whether Happy should keep its training centre.

Happy's founder and Chief Happiness Officer, Henry Stewart, decided to make no decisions, inspired by leadership guru David Marquet and a large British retailer.

Happy has an open and transparent policy when it comes to the company finances. There are staff meetings several times per year and sessions at our staff training days to discuss these, as well as monthly updates from each department and the company as a whole.

Coming from working within a large banking and financial organisation I was astonished at how open and transparent Happy is when it comes to anything financial. The senior management team regularly share content in detail about Happy’s financial affairs, including what’s in the bank account. Henry is completely honest when it comes to decisions on how to reward staff, including how much we think should be put in the pot. This is something I’ve never experienced before in any organisation I’ve worked for.Maureen Bowen, Apprenticeships Administrator

Why Henry Stewart stopped making decisions

Henry took inspiration from David Marquet, a leadership expert and former commander of the nuclear-powered submarine, USS Santa Fe. After consciously stopping from making decisions for a year, Happy saw a 26% increase in sales and a move from loss to profit.


Decisions that do not affect the whole organisation are made through Pre-Approval. When finding a solution to a problem at Happy, staff will speak to key members of the company to create aims and guidelines. Whatever they decide to do, as long as it's within the guidelines, they can go ahead and do it.

Some of the things that people at Happy have changed with Pre-Approval are Happy's website, the pricing for our IT training courses, Happy's organisation chart, and automated emails to clients. (Find out about Happy's org chart here.)

I was quite new to my role when I noticed our automated ‘joining instructions’ emails were not very professional. Through my work with our clients, I realised that improvement was needed because vital information was being missed. Even though this wasn’t in my job description, I wanted to make it better. I mentioned it to my M&M and she just said ‘yes - improve it, go for it, you are pre-approved’. I feel like pre-approval motivates and gives you energy; it really does make you feel very free.Laura Ffrench, Account Manager

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