Founded in 1990, Happy (www.happy.co.uk) is a management consulting, e-learning and computer training company with a mission to help other organisations create great work places.
Happy was originally established as an IT training company that aimed to make learning how to use software an enjoyable and involving experience. The company has since applied its methods to the areas of e-learning and management training. Their approach is based on years of experience in both creating what is recognised as one of the best work places in the country, but also on what they have learnt from the other companies listed in those awards.
Happy Computers is not the largest IT training company, they have around 35 employees, although they are in the top 50 for size. However, they do punch above their weight and are the only training company in the UK to be rated in the top three by the Institute for IT Training (IITT) for 9 of the last 11 years.
Henry Stewart, Happy’s CEO, shared some insights about what has made his business so successful in retaining customers, building a great team and driving repeat business and growth.
When we asked Henry about what his proudest moment in business was, he told us it was being awarded rated the best company in the UK for customer service (by Management Today) in 2003 and the
2nd best place to work in the UK (Financial Times) in 2007.
Henry also shared with some insights on what he believes they do that has helped them build a truly customer-focused business and team. Here are some of his insights:
- Unique approach. Happy has created a unique approach to how it delivers its services. It focuses on the whole experience of learning and makes it really enjoyable. This means that people talk and recommend us – (they have a Net Promoter Score of 70%!)
- Don’t part on bad terms. When we fall out with people (and it doesn’t happen very often) we don’t sack people straight away. Our approach is that we help them move on to their next project. This means that even if we have had to part company with someone they still talk positively about us.
- Give your people trust, freedom and support and they will flourish. 18 years ago Henry read Maverick by Ricardo Semler and it changed his life. Before this, he was guilty of micro-managing. Now they give people the space, trust and freedom to flourish. They support them not direct them.
- Recruiting made easy. The best bit about this approach is that it makes recruitment very easy. Happy has a 2,000 long waiting list of people wanting to work for them. The last time they needed new trainers, there was no advert, no consultant, no external cost at all. One email to their waiting list resulted in 92 completed online application forms and the recruitment of 3 new trainers.
This is another great example of an established business that is leading its industry, empowering its team and delivering value for its customers. Can you learn anything from their approach?