“Does your company have a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer)?”…was the question which compelled me to wear my Thinking Hats
In my life, I’ve heard known and interacted with several CXO’s. The key one’s being CEO – Chief Executive Officer, CFO – Chief Finance Officer, CIO – Chief Information Officer, CTO – Chief Technology Officer, CIO – Chief Innovation Officer, CSO – Chief Strategy Officer, CBOO – Chief Business Operations Officer, CDO – Chief Delivery Officer, CKO – Chief Knowledge Officer, CEI – Chief Experience Officer, COO – Chief Operating Officer, CMO – Chief Marketing Officer , CPO – Chief People Officer, CLO – Chief Learning Officer …
But never really heard of a CHO – Chief Happiness Officer…
The thought continued to linger…The underlying questions on my mind were really:
Does any organization already have a CHO?
What should / would be his / her charter?
Do organizations need a CHO?
I did a little Googling. Interestingly, the following references caught my attention:
1) Ronald McDonald was given the position of Chief Happiness Officer in 2003. He was a goodwill ambassador and traveling the world to bring fun, happiness, and physical activity to people of all ages. For further reading, refer http://mcdepk.com/50/downloads/bio_ronald_mcdonald.pdf
2) Twitter mentions about a Chief Happiness Officer. For further details, refer http://profitablesocialmedia.comtwitters-cho-chief-happiness-officer/
3) Alexander Kjerulf, AKA The Chief Happiness Officer is one of the world’s leading experts on happiness at work. His TED Video on the Happiness at Work is a must-watch. For further details, refer http://video.tedxcopenhagen.dk/video/910935/alexander-kjerulf-happiness-at.
4) Ashok Soota’s latest venture is called The Happiest Minds. While it is an IT company, the Corporate Overview on their web-site states the objective of the company is “creating the happiest people and the happiest customers.” .“People are central to any services organization, but despite the “employees first” motto very few firms are built around the belief that happy people translate to happy customers.” For further details, refer http://www.happiestminds.com
It’s interesting to note that while Happiness is fundamentally a human emotion, here Happiness is linked to the Mind…
5) Jenn Lim is the CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, a company that she and Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) co-created in 2010 to inspire happiness in work, community and everyday life. For further details, refer http://www.deliveringhappiness.com/about-us/contact/jennlim/
I followed up my online research with some real-world discussions, reading and introspection.
In this blog, I will present two views on this subject
1) The Employee View
2) The Organization View
THE EMPLOYEE VIEW
I conducted an informal survey in my professional network on what is it that employees really want from their jobs / careers – and hence, from their organizations? As anticipated, the initial response was varied. The top responses were:
6. Social Status
8. Chance to solve problems
9. Opportunity to Contribute….
I probed a little deeper with a series of Why’s?
And the underlying answer was unanimously common – HAPPINESS…
The only caveat – “What really made one Happy?” was unique and personal.
In reality, the DNA of every organization is its employees…And if Happiness is a core need of employees, then is it not relevant for organizations to have a dedicated focus on ensuring employees are Happy?
So, would the designation of Chief Happiness Officer then not just be relevant, but also important and critical?
THE ORGANIZATION VIEW
From time immemorial, organizations have realized that their existence, growth and success are directly linked to the quality, productivity and value created by their employees…
Of course, every organization pays employees for the services they render as a part of their professional roles and responsibilities. However, employees need, want and expect more from their employer. And hence organizations do invest, plan and engage with employees in many different ways – For e.g.: Trainings, Team Outings, Medical Benefits, Leave policies, Mentoring, Flexibility at work, Support in times of crisis and emergency, etc.
However organizations have also realized that “What really made one Happy?” was unique and personal for each of its employees. And hence there is limited that organizations can do to ensure that every employee is happy and possibly cannot make every employee happy all the time…
Since organizations do invest in many different ways to ensure employees are happy, would the formal designation of Chief Happiness Officer then not just be relevant, but also important and critical?
• It is definitely worthwhile for organizations to have a dedicated focus on employee happiness. And hence the formal role of “Chief Happiness Officer” is the first positive step towards achieving this – For the organization, employees, customers and the brand image of the organization!!
• At the end of the day, every employee is REALLY his / her own “Chief Happiness Officer” simply because you have your own definition of happiness, you know best what really will make you happy and most importantly, you have the choice of which organization you want to be associated with – to stay happy!
In conclusion, the words of wisdom
You are the Chief Happiness Officer of your CAREER, of your LIFE!!!