Trust and autonomy make for a great workplace, says Henry Stewart

Trusting people and letting them get on with their job in their own way enables them to work at their best, says Henry Stewart, CEO of training company Happy.

Speaking at Learning Live 2012, Stewart said that at Happy people choose their managers so there is never the danger that people will leave the company as a result of working for a manager they do not like. Stewart said that a recent survey showed 48% of workers would take a pay cut to work with a different manager.

“We let people play to their strengths. If they are a great manager then we will support them in doing that,” he said.

Happy uses Strengths Finder to help choose people to do jobs that play to their strengths. He says that this enables the company to choose the right people for the right tasks.

As for results, Stewart says that in 20 years Happy has never lost a member off staff to a competitor.

Stewart says his thinking about how he conducts business has been influenced by the likes of Ricardo Semler at Semco as well as companies such as WL Gore and Zappos. He said that there is clear evidence that if you create a great place to work you will improve productivity and profitability.

Listen to the interview

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