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2nd Happy Workplace conference

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2nd Happy Workplace conference

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I first came across Henry Stewart back in 2011 when I attended the launch event of a new report looking at employee engagement being conducted by the Management Lab.  The research was headed up by Reinventing Management author and Management Lab grandee Julian Birkinshaw, and the launch event featured talks by Birkinshaw, Anand Pillai from HCL and Henry, the founder of Happy Computers.

The report outlined a number of things that managers could do to improve employee engagement:

  1. Seek out opportunities to walk in their shoes. Management by walking around is not a new idea, yet few managers actually practice it. Try things like reverse mentoring, doing front-line work or skip-level meetings.
  2. Package work into projects. Project work provides strong intrinsic motivation.
  3. Get to know your employees properly. Only if you know your employees well can you align their strengths to the tasks they need to do. To often employees are asked to do things that don’t align with their strengths.
  4. Deliver high quality employee experiences. This means going beyond the basic 360 appraisals and give people opportunities to raise concerns whenever they arise.
  5. Turn your employees into advocates. The report compares modern approaches to marketing with a desirable approach to management, and just as marketers want customers to become advocates of a product, so managers should look to turn employees into advocates of their employer. To measure this they suggest using the Net Management Promoter Score (NMPS). This is basically the percentage of your employees that would recommend their manager to others minus the percentage that would not.

It was all the kind of stuff that eventually became a fundamental part of the social business movement, and the talk by Henry provided a nice glimpse into how he had made theory reality at Happy Computers.  Since that first encounter, I’ve followed events at Happy closely, and of course read the Happy Manifesto.

So it’s with great interest that I’ll be attending the 2nd Happy Workplaces Conference next Wednesday (14th May) at Google’s office here in London.  The event has a fascinating mix of speakers, with Professor Birkinshaw headlining an event that also has talks from the NHS’ Kate Grimes, and the social business worlds own Luis Suarez.

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