EngagementCultureWhat exactly is a Chief Happiness Officer?

What exactly is a Chief Happiness Officer?

Inspiring and fostering happiness in the workplace is at the top of many business leader’s to-do lists. Employees who feel engaged and fulfilled at work are in turn more productive, so investing in the happiness and well-being of their people is in the C-Suite’s best interest.

How do leaders create a positive, inclusive and upbeat company culture? Being ahead of the curve, Google has had a resident Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), or “Jolly Good Fellow” as the role is officially known, for a number of years. The CHO is responsible for a range of staff happiness initiatives that can include company perks, such as free lunches, nap pods, and free gym memberships, as well as monitoring day-to-day company culture. Dedicating a member of your leadership team to ensuring employees’ well-being is carefully considered and supported sends a powerful message that the company’s staff are the beating heart of the organisation. A CHO can also give a business’ leadership that all-important human appeal, which in turn promotes the authenticity of an organisation. So, how do you go about doing this?

But is this what today’s employees want? Promoting happiness is not a simple tick box exercise and while appointing a CHO is a useful tool for nurturing wider company culture and individual employees’ needs, it is not the only solution.

“It is important to remember that no two people have identical wants and needs, and this is particularly true when it comes to how employees want to work.”

Happiness is high on employee’s agendas

Looking a little deeper, JLL’s recent report, Workplace – powered by Human Experience, highlights 70% of employees desire a workplace that focuses on happiness. However, significant proportions of workers around the world also want access to spaces designed to aid concentration (47%) and to recharge their energy (40%). Spaces that facilitate creative and collaborative working are also hugely important. These casual group working environments nurture an egalitarian culture amongst staff as they encourage cooperation across different managerial levels within a business.

It is important to remember that no two people have identical wants and needs, and this is particularly true when it comes to how employees want to work. The bigger the team, the more individual needs and wants that have to be accommodated. Whilst this is a daunting prospect, it is not impossible to achieve. In order to keep all employees happy, it is important to offer choice. A variety of different workspaces that encourage both interactive group work as well as a more singular and studious environment, not only allow your staff to work productively in the ways they want, but will also ensure they feel accommodated and included into company culture. If the business trusts its people to work where and how they want, they feel valued and important to the wider team.

Ultimately, organisations need to ensure that their workplaces operate in a way that promotes a positive working environment. Employers who continue to ignore the needs and expectations of their staff will simply fall behind and their company culture will suffer. Having both a leadership team and workplace that holds their employees at its core is becoming a standard expectation of workers today, and rightly so.

Today’s workforce put a premium on their professional happiness and fulfillment. In order to attract the brightest sparks in this pool of new talent, leaders will do well to accommodate these new expectations. A strong, unified and attractive company culture can be achieved through an inspiring workspace and instilling the importance of staff well-being into company leaders. So whilst appointing a CHO is a great step forward, the best way to achieve a happier and more productive workforce is to adopt a number of these measures in tandem rather than isolation. Being innovative, daring and different will get your business noticed, for all the right reasons.

Would you consider having a dedicated Chief Happiness Officer? 

Author
Dr Marie Puybaraud, Global Head of Research, JLL Corporate Solutions

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