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The Who, Why, and How to Have A Chief Happiness Officer At Workplace

Management  |  
7 min read   |  
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Employee happiness has now become a buzzing trend in the workplace. The days when employees wanted nothing more than job security and a steady paycheck are gone. The workplace has dramatically changed, and so have the individuals inside the workplace.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine, employees look for three essential qualities, they are- fulfillment, engagement, and empowerment. Eighty-seven percent of almost 7,000 employees surveyed believed that a company needed someone to have a full-time position to oversee its well-being.

Nearly 70% of those involved in the survey said a positive work environment should promote job happiness. Here enters the role of a Chief Happiness Officer. Infact, in some companies, the most significant job position is no longer the CEO or CTO, but rather the CHO: Chief Happiness Officer.

Who is the Chief Happiness Officer?


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The first role of a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) was introduced in Silicon Valley, in the United States. It's undoubtedly much more than an exciting job title. It has charmed more and more start-ups and big businesses today. The Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) is someone who can intervene for both HR and internal communications in an organization.

A Chief Happiness Officer's role can be a stand-alone position charged with everything from tracking attitudes, experiences, views, and engagement to enhancing or revising company culture..

Alexander Kjerulf, the founder and CHO at WooHoo, Inc, points out that to be efficient and successful in affecting the culture and employee engagement, any CHO must have the support of top-level management.

Zappos pays $2,000 for recruits to quit if they feel that they are not in line with the culture. Other employers, including Amazon and Netflix, are following suit. It's named Pay to Quit, and its goal is to ensure that employees are happy with their employers and in their work. Thus, we can say that employee happiness is a crucial practice used by organizations to maintain an active workforce.

Although your business may not have a pay-to-quit policy, it is necessary to keep employee engagement the top consideration. It is sure to give you a competitive advantage in hiring and business performance.

Today, measuring engagement is relatively easy to do. We have numerous ways to survey employees. We can quickly get the necessary information about what is right and wrong in our work culture. But changing engagement and enhancing it is another thing entirely.

That's when the role of someone initiating changes in culture and progress comes in. And none can do it better than a CHO.

Is Chief Happiness Officer a new position?

In reality, a Chief Happiness Officer is a specially trained HR Manager. It is someone who believes that happy employees are better employees. To foster a happy work environment, they must recognize some fundamental qualities to share with the employees.

Articulate Marketing, a remote working group, is a perfect example here. Early in the business, Matthew Stibbe, its founder, and chief executive, recognized that happiness and engagement needed to be a core company ideology.

Based on Stibbe's previous experience, he knew that companies grow rapidly but lack the "right culture."

Related Article- Corporate Culture Trends for 2022

Stibbe, who appointed long-time colleague Liz Fielder as chief happiness officer, says that the role is crucial to supporting management decision-making processes.

And rightly so. Since a company's Human Resources department is committed to safeguarding a company's most precious asset, working closely with the HR department is natural for the CHO.

Liz's role is vital because it allows for playback of how the moves I make and the activities we implement are accepted by the team. It allows us a chance to hear of any serious personal or team concerns. Without a CHO, we might fail to address specific employee concerns as successfully. It is a shock absorber.

Matthew further suggests-

It's vital to pick the right person. HR is a separate function, and it is a specialist position for a chief happiness officer. There can be persons from anywhere in the industry who can have the best talents to be a CHO, but in order to make things work, they must have a true interest in happiness and soft skills.

Difference between a Chief Happiness Officer and an HR Manager

A conversation between an employee and a Chief Happiness Officer is lighter and gentler, in contrast to that of an HR.

A Chief Happiness Officer has regular check-ins with each team member. Sometimes, employees can feel awkward talking about problems to their HR manager. CHO can act as the bridge between them and become the channel of happiness.

I got this brilliant example somewhere on the internet. There are so many organizations whose employees tour and travel for business. They need a CHO for sure.

A CHO plays a vital role to reveal employees' concerns about the cost of traveling and other issues they face to the management. They can develop some adjustments, relieving the burden of cost and stress for our teams.

It further includes informal discussions known as "happy workers talk," whereby employees can speak openly about their overall well-being and any other concerns, confidentially to the chief happiness officer. It includes training and seminars for employees, policy-making, and everything makes work enjoyable and fun.

Here are the top 6 duties of a Chief Happiness Officer


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1. Lend an ear to the employees

"Sixty-four percent of the 675 skilled employees interviewed in the U.S. and Canada said that the greatest concern was "leaders make decisions without seeking input."

You need to listen to what your employees say if you want them to play a more significant role in your business. They prefer to hold back their ideas and take less action to change when management makes decisions without feedback.
The bottom line is- employees want to be heard and feel accepted.

Happiness traffic light or traffic light surveys are brilliant options to check if satisfaction levels are rising. It will ensure we are confident that the levels will increase in the future.

2. Promote growth

At every stage, work can and should be a source of personal fulfillment. People need to have space to develop, educate themselves, and continuously learn every day to experience this fulfillment. The CHO must ensure that their workspace has the tools and resources to do this.

Also read- 22 Must Have Tools For Remote Workers

3. Empowers employees

The more rights workers have in the organization, the happier they will be in their work. They are sure to invest more and more energy in their work. For example, at Vantage Circle, we ensure that peers get involved in the employee review process. Also, peer recognition is definitely a part of our reward system.

Must read- Employee Empowerment: Are You Doing it Right?

4. Appreciate their day to day efforts

Imagine a job where your team doesn't appreciate your work, your effort goes unrecognized, and they might substitute you in an eye blink. It's not usually a place you'd like to stay for a long time.

So, one of your most essential duties as a CHO is to make your employees feel genuinely respected and valued. Let them know that their work matters. Ensure they know that without them, the organization, your department, and, frankly, you are going to be nothing.

5. Bestow freedom

If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.- Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google.

The repressive notion of the HR manager is a thing of the past. If you want your team members to impress you with their talents and abilities, you must give them the ability to tailor their jobs and plans. It helps strike the right balance between their work and life, making them far more active and inspired.

6. Keep the spirit high

The CHO must plan events such as team-building activities, retreats, and others that create a team spirit. It is beneficial to not only employee productivity but also in terms of organizational happiness as a whole. Besides that, the role of the CHO is to ensure employee well-being and mental health.

In line with this, the CHO job's roles are highly likely to change over the years to adapt more efficiently to tomorrow's business needs.

Final words

The CHO mission is to create a happiness-driven workplace, make sure all employees feel valued and trusted, foster professional development, reduce stress and act as a link between management and employees, especially in matters of mood and retention.

Although it might seem as if a CHO's position is not necessary, but the work environment today shows a different scenario. In his LinkedIn post, Dr. Wahid Awad, Chief Business Officer at CILcare, clarified a CHO's meaning. He proposed that each organization should have somebody in that role. Large companies ought to attract the best talents in the market today.

Building a workplace that makes your people happy is one of the best ways to achieve that. Again, by tracking the happiness levels in your company, you would control employee engagement and retention. It is particularly relevant for workplaces with workforces predominantly composed of millennials.

While it may not be a must for any organization to have a Chief Happiness Officer, data indicates that the more active and satisfied an employee is, the higher the efficiency of a corporation. In the long run, a Chief Happiness Officer will keep measuring the employee happiness and help the organization prosper.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact