Category Archives: Happy companies

Happy at work at… Happy

Yes, there is a company in the UK called Happy. Yes, they’re happy :o)

We went to London last week and had a chance to visit the Happy HQ and meet with their managing director Cathy Busani to hear more about what makes them a great workplace.

Here’s a short video with Cathy:

And there’s much more. At Happy, employees can also choose their own bosses, they help make all major decisions, all bonuses are divided equally – just to give you some examples.

Cathy will talk much more about thisat our conference about happiness at work in Copenhagen in May. Read all about it here.

Happiness at work at Perrigo

Health care company Perrigo is looking for more employees and this is how they try to attract them:

Where many companies present themselves seriously and factually, Perrigo present themselves as a fun, lively, social place.

I don’t know about you – but it kinda makes me want to work there :o)

Here are the top three four reasons why Perrigo’s “casting call” is a great way to attract great people.

1: It speaks to your emotions
Disney World does the same thing. I’ve seen the video they use to present themselves to potential new employees and it contained exactly NO facts. Instead it was all about all the cool stuff Disney does – from Monday Night Football to Pirates of the Caribbean to their Cruises.

I saw this video with a group of highly paid consultants and leaders as part of a seminar at Disney University and after that 6-minute presentation, several of the group declared themselves ready to quit their careers and go work for Disney World :o)

That is the power of speaking to people’s emotions!

Where most companies try to speak to your logical, rational side, Perrigo’s video speaks directly to your emotions, which is more effective. Many studies in decision-making show that we make our decisions with our emotions and only then do we find the rational arguments to support our emotions.

2: It’s fun
Why does recruiting always have to be such a deadly serious process? In fact, studies show that we make better decisions when we’re happy and relaxed. Let’s make it fun!

3: This video will instantly repel a ton of potential hires
While many people will be attracted to Perrigo, many others will see this video and think “I will never work for a company that silly.” And that’s a great thing because those people would obviously not fit in at an organization that is happy and fun-loving. It’s much easier to let these people self-select early in the process than to have to read their applications and interview them (and possibly even hire them) only to find later that they’re a bad fit for the company culture.

4: Employees were involved in making it (Update)
After I posted this, it struck me that this is especially cool because current employees could get in on the fun of making the video.

Your take

What’s your take on this? Does this video make you want to work for Perrigo or run away screaming? Have you seen other companies present themselves in fun, untraditional ways? Write a comment, I’d love to hear your take.

Related posts

Happiness at work at Atlassian

This is how Australian software company Atlassian present their values on their web site’s about page:

Open company, no bullshit

Atlassian embraces transparency wherever at all practical, and sometimes where impractical. All information, both internal and external, is public by default. We are not afraid of being honest with ourselves, our staff and our customers.

Build with heart and balance

Everyday we try to build products that are useful and that people lust after. Building with heart means really caring about what we’re making and doing — it’s a mission, not just a job. When we build with balance we take into account how initiatives and decisions will affect our colleagues, our customers and our stakeholders.


Don’t #@!% the customer

When we make internal decisions we ask ourselves “how will this affect our customers?” If the answer is that it would ‘screw’ them, or make life more difficult, then we need to find a better way. We want the customer to respect us in the morning.

Play, as a team

We want all Atlassians to feel like they work with Atlassian, not for Atlassian. We think it’s important to have fun with your workmates while working and contributing to the Atlassian team.


Be the change you seek

We think Gandhi had it pretty right when he said “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world”.
At Atlassian we encourage everyone to create positive change — we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our company, our products and our environment.

Not only are these some good values to have, they’re also presented in a way that is fun, irreverent and different. I love that number one is “No bullshit” and I love the little icons that support the message.

Your take

What do you think of Atlassian’s values? Does your company have values? Do you know’em? Does anyone? Do you live by them? Do they inspire you in any way? Write a comment, I’d like to know

Happiness at work at Zappos

I’ve been inspired by Zappos for quite a while now. Not only are they insanely successful, it’s also a genuinely happy workplace, judging from all I’ve read about them.

Here’s a nice little piece from abc news that shows just how happy this company is:

MAN, that’s good to see :o)

Here are my top three reasons to love zappos.

1: They have a culture that promotes happiness at work

Zappos is committed to defining and living a positive, happy culture. Their values are:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

That’s your recipe for happiness right there.

2: They pay new employees to quit

At the end of your training as a new Zappos employee, the company offers you $2000 if you quit right away. This means that the people who stay are committed to the company and the culture.

Here’s an interview where Bill Taylor (formerly of Fast Company) talks about it.

3: They behave like human beings. Great human beings

The fact that people are happy at work (yes, even the ones answering the phone) means that they give incredibly good customer service.

And often that service goes above and beyond. I dare you to read this story and not shed a tear.

The upshot

Zappos gets it, as do more and more companies. When a business puts its people first (not the customer and not the investors, but the people) you increase happiness, creativity, productivity and profits.

This is not rocket science – and companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, SAS Insititute, Disney, Pixar and many many others will testify to the fact that it works.

So how does your company prioiritize? Are employees at the top of the list – or is that spot taken by profits, growth, customers, or..?

Helping Africa through business

AfricaI recently wrote a blog post asking for information on happy workplaces in Africa.

I got some great tips, showing that even in poor countries it’s still possible to be happy at work.

Now I can finally announce the reason why i ask. A company has been launched that has a simple but breath-taking goal: To eradicate poverty in Africa through business.

The company is called C4, and the idea is based on micro-financing ala Grameen Bank – with a focus on helping African businesses.

The idea is this:

  1. People in rich countries can create an account with C4 and put money into it.
  2. Africans can create accounts asking for investments.
  3. C4 account holders can decide which projects to invest in.

Note that you’re not giving the money as aid – you’re investing in a number of projects and can expect to get your money back with interest.

The advantages are clear:

  • You get direct influence over which projects you support.
  • Instead of giving aid, we’re helping people help themselves.

I know the people behind this, and I know their commitment, skill and energy will carry them on to great results. I have also been giving them a hand here and there :o)

Now they’re looking for the first group of people to start test-driving the site. They’re looking for 2,015 people to be specific (why that number? See if you can figure it out :o)

I urge you to sign up for this. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of something fun, that has the potential to make the world a better place.

I will certainly be participating, with a specific focus on spreading happiness at work in African businesses.

Happy at work at Nixon McInnes

GreenAfter I wrote on my blog that I’m a huge fan of Ricardo Semler, I got an email from another avowed fan, namely Tom Nixon who is a director at Nixon McInnes a web design agency in Brighton, England.

He’s been telling me a little about how they run things, and here are som highlights:

Everyone sets their own working hours
This works really well for us. We had an almost tearful moment at our ‘review of the year’ meeting before xmas when a relatively new member of staff said that her highlight of the year was being able to see her kids in their school nativity play, which had been possible for the first time this year because of our flexible working arrangements.

Open book accounting
Everyone knows what everyone else earns, and I also like to show staff our bank statements now and again so they get a feel for what comes in and goes out. Sometimes we have awkward conversations about pay because salaries are public, but it’s so much better getting it all out in the open – people usually find out eventually anyway.

Voting on key issues
We had a chance to move into some really nice offices about a year ago, but the team voted against it in the end because it was just too expensive. We were all a bit bummed by not getting to work in the new place but because everyone had a say in it there was no

Their company culture also includes things like “People wear the clothes that they feel are appropriate” and “We believe that businesses need not be only about money.”

YES! Way to go! It’s all very Semler-ish and perfectly in tune with my previous posts on why secret salaries are a bad idea and the cult of overwork.

I like the openness and participation that this encourages and the fact that these are not just internal policies, but are mentioned right on the website. Kudos!

PS. They’re hiring!