Happy staff, happy work ; happy work, happy staff

santaTo paraphrase Richard Branson, ‘happy staff = happy work’, and for Branson, that means that customers will also be happy and your organisation will be successful.

Motivational theory and systems theory tells us that a work (the way it is designed and the constraints placed upon people doing it) also influences whether people are satisfied with what they do. In other words, happy work creates happy  people.

Deming talked about dignity in work decades before it became a focus of attention in Human Resource departments. His philosophy was ‘centered on people and the dignity of work. He believed that people should have joy in their work, that the system within which they work should be designed to make this possible and to enable workers to reach their full potential to contribute to the enterprise‘ and that system is management’s responsibility (Tortorella, 1995).

So for happy also read ‘joyful‘. Quite an expectation! But consider this: whilst a happy person is satisfied, a joyful person brings renewed energy and vigour into their activities, interests and relationships – exactly what we need in a high performing team. And a joyful person can be as quiet and dignified as they wish, or as outwardly enthusiastic as they wish, but their joy will rub off positively onto the people around them.

It is motivation…for free.


Oswald, A.J., Proto, E. and Sgroi, D. (2014) Happiness and Productivity. http://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/35451/1/522164196.pdf

Nazarali, R. (2014) Happy People are more Productive. http://ridiculouslyefficient.com/happy-people-are-more-productive/

Raymundo, O. (2014) Richard Branson: Companies Should Put Employees First. Inc.com, OCT 28, 2014. http://www.inc.com/oscar-raymundo/richard-branson-companies-should-put-employees-first.html

Seddon, J. (2003). Freedom from Command and Control. Buckingham: Vanguard Press.

Tortorella, M.J.  (1995) The Three Careers of W. Edwards Deming. Siam News https://www.deming.org/content/three-careers-w-edwards-deming