Happy is a learning provider that aims to make software learning enjoyable and to help create happy workplaces. Based in London, they have been running for 30 years and employ 25 staff with 30 associate facilitators.

Their challenge came in 2016-17 when huge financial losses threatened the company’s very survival. Rather than cutting back staff and costs to the core, they decided to return to their values and ensure they were reflected by transforming the culture throughout the business.

"Investing in values of trust, freedom and belief in people"

Staff were kept fully informed of the financial situation, with the founder (now ‘Chief Happiness Officer’) sharing figures and holding regular meetings where staff could propose helpful initiatives. Staff were given the freedom to make all decisions within their area of responsibility without approval. They were also encouraged to take on any of a former colleague’s responsibilities that they chose.

Trainers were asked to take ownership of their utilisation metrics, focusing them and reducing the proportion of trainer cost from 42% to 29%. They aimed for staff to find joy in at least 80% of their work by encouraging people to work to their strengths. Rather than delegating to individuals, managers now delegate to teams, who decide amongst themselves who is best for a task.

By fully involving every member of staff and investing in values of trust, freedom and belief in people, Happy went from losses of £180,000 to profits of £165,000 in one year. This was achieved largely through individuals taking more responsibility for their delivery, as well as reduction in trainer costs and impressive engagement. Internal NPS reached its highest ever score of 84, and external NPS of 74 (better than Amazon!). With the results beginning to take effect, they were able to give all staff salary increases and to invest in new systems, website and staff.