Do You Have Your Chief Happiness Officer?

Do your employees smile at the thought of coming to work? A Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), or happiness manager, could help you meet this challenge.

What does the Chief Happiness Officer do?
“His goal is to make the employee experience the most agreeable possible ,as soon as they pass through the office door,” explains Gabriel Campeau, co-founder of CHO SVP, which lets companies recruit CHOs for temporary assignments. The happiness manager works on different aspects, such as communication, events, space planning, reception or commuting. Very transversal, he is an information transmission belt between employees and management. “Historically, HR teams and various committees have shared the tasks relating to work well-being,” continues Mr. Campeau. “Today the CHO must be a free electron that centralizes and deploys all the initiatives that go in that direction.”

Is the CHO a superfluous expense?
Don’t be too sure, considering the context of labour shortage and the growing expectations of employees towards their employer. “The return on investment comes from retention and then on attracting talent,” Mr. Campeau says. “The reflex of companies is often to focus their efforts on the salary, while the people, and especially the Millennials, are also looking for a quality of life in the office.” In addition, wellness at work would increase employee productivity by 12%, according to a study by the University of Warwick. “The decrease in absenteeism and insurance costs can also weigh in the balance,” notes the specialist.

How do you find that rare gem?
There is no typical profile of the happiness manager, and their remuneration differs from one company to another. “The person’s experience and expertise, as well as the significance of problems and the size of the organization influences the choice of a CHO,” says Gabriel Campeau. Certain skills are nonetheless indispensable, such as ease with human contact, listening, confidentiality and versatility. “It is also necessary to be at ease with project management, and to be tactful and diplomatic with all stakeholders,” he adds. So, recruit internally or hire? “The challenge of the CHO is to keep an objective eye and remain creative over the long term,” emphasizes Mr. Campeau. “This is why our model is based on 6-month renewable assignments, with the possibility of changing CHO according to his specialities.”

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