Making happiness central to our vision

If we had any non-negotiables when we started the business 16 years ago, they would be to make sure our employees and clients were happy at all times. Over the years that passion gained more clarity and became two of the core values we live everyday by. And whilst that worked, it didn’t seem enough; we wanted something that gave us greater focus for the decisions we were making. So in 2020 we changed our vision to be ‘the happiest little agency in the world’.

Being the happiest little agency in the world

There’s an interesting set of words in this statement notably happy, little and world – and this is what we meant.

  • We want to be at the forefront of the well-being momentum in our industry, loving coming to work, working for clients we gel with on projects we’re really into. We’ll show that happier folk make better work
  • We don’t want to just grow and grow and lose ourselves and what makes us special. We want to be selective about who and what we work on.
  • That doesn’t mean we’re thinking small. We’ve done work for some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers. We’d rather do bigger and more ambitious work than more of the same.

Whilst we have systems, approaches and experiences for both clients and employees – I thought I’d focus today on employees.

Does it make good business sense?

It’s a decision we didn’t take lightly,  cynics amongst you will be thinking it’s a load of namby pamby nonsense. But the more we dug, the stronger the business case emerged. 

There are so many studies about the impact of a happy workforce on a range of metrics it’s hard to know why more companies don’t have a happiness first approach. We have a ton of data behind this approach – but here’s the most compelling reasons we found. 

  1. Happiness makes people more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick. Economists carried out a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. They found happiness made people around 12% more productive.
  2. Gallup estimated that 68% of the UK workforce are disengaged. Hay Group put the economic cost of this at £340bn per year.
  3. Employees who are happy at work experience improved levels of creativity and demonstrate a better ability to think outside-the-box.
  4. Employees who are happy at work are more likely to stay at a company long-term.
happiest little agency in the world

Why it’s so important to us

I could wax lyrical for hours about having a happy team and happy clients – but in a massively competitive environment for both talent and frankly clients a culture built around happiness is becoming hugely motivating and differentiating and distinctive. A win win.

Building our happiness system for our employees

We read and read and read some more about the subject from a range of authors and authorities. 4 key themes emerged: purpose, engagement, resilience and kindness. We used them to build our happiness system – a framework to put happiness at the centre of our business, our people’s lives and ultimately our clients.

It manifestsitself as acommitmentto employees:

To make every day a happy work day.

We want our people to feel an overwhelming sense of enjoyment at work, being able to gracefully handle setbacks, connecting amicably with their colleagues and clients, and knowing that their work matters to them and us. It’s just what the happiest little agency in the world does.

How happiness manifestsitself for employees

Building on all the best practice models for well-being and happiness we created the following framework that has a series of commitments, initiatives and processes built-in. 

Health – Creating mental & physical resilience

Achievement – Purposeful development and coaching 

Package – Money, benefits and support

Place – Flexible, inspiring places and working hours

You – the space to kindly grow

How we measure it

We looked at a range of systems but settled on Office Vibe. Not only does it have the usual employee engagement metrics it also has a happiness index. 

On the 16th March 2022 – this is what happiness looks like in my business. Yep most of you would kill for those scores.

We don’t always get it right

Holy moly it’s hard work. It’s difficult to reconcile radical candour, work life balance and client demands, to name a few, with a focus on happiness. Clearly we’re a service business so we inevitably make judgement calls that make either clients or our people less than happy. However we have something to frame those decisions against and in doing so it holds ourselves to account. 

The one thing I have learned is one person’s happiness is another person’s version of hell – so maybe don’t encourage spa days on your team’s well-being day – it backfires. 

Find out more about our approach

I’ve probably shared too much, but happiness is a serious business and the more we share about what works and what doesn’t the better we’ll all be. So I’d be more than happy to share our journey further, compare notes and learn more about your approaches. Feel free to email me

Sue Benson

By Sue Benson

Managing Director