By Berta Campos, on 11 May 2021
We have some excellent news! Employee happiness in the workplace has become a trend and one of the most important positions is that of CHO or Chief Happiness Officer.
Although its presence is not very widespread yet, its popularity is on the rise. At long last, brands from all over the world are beginning to finally realize that a happy company is the way to go.
What Is a Chief Happiness Officer?
A Chief Happiness Officer is, as the name implies, the person responsible for happiness levels within a company. Their position would typically be included in the Human Resources department, as it is focused on improving the wellbeing of the company’s employees.
However, companies who have someone in charge of happiness go a step further than traditional Human Resources. The goal is no longer to just offer good conditions in an effort to retain employees, but rather to consider work and employment as a source of personal satisfaction.
Although this responsibility falls on the CHO’s shoulders, they never work alone. It is up to each and every member of the company, from the board of directors to individual employees, to make an effort and actively participate in creating a happy company.
The Chief Happiness Officer’s 10 Main Tasks
So what exactly does a Chief Happiness Officer do in their day to day work? These are the 10 main tasks.
1. Making Sure Employees Feel Valued
Not just as professionals, but as people. Our emotions do not get left at the door when we arrive at work, they come in and stick with us all day. Realizing this is a fundamental step on the way to building a happy company.
2. Guarantee the Basics
For employees to be motivated and fulfilled in their work, the first thing they need are good salaries and working conditions.
3. Listening to Employees
To understand what makes employees happy, you need to listen to them. It is the only way to figure out when something is not going well and what can be done to make it better. At Cyberclick for example, we use a Happiness Traffic Light to check in once a week.
4. Value Day to Day Work
Nothing burns people out more quickly than feeling like their efforts are not appreciated. Therefore, one of the CHO’s duties is to make sure employees know that their work matters.
5. Grant Freedom
The tyrannical boss should be a thing of the past. If you want your team members to surprise you with their skill and abilities, give them the freedom to organize their own work and schedules. This allows them to adapt their work to their personal life, rather than the other way around, making them much more productive and motivated.
6. Support Growth
Work can and should be a source of personal fulfillment. In order to feel this, people need to have room to grow, educate themselves, and learn continuously. The CHO should help make sure they have the resources and means to do this within their workspace.
7. Help Manage Time
As opposed to strict and rigid office hours, a happy company needs to recognize the importance of a work-life balance. Details such as flexible working hours and holidays make employees feel taken care of and satisfied.
8. Create a Positive Work Environment
It’s not just about productivity and salaries: employees should also enjoy their work. This is the Chief Happiness Officer’s key goal.
9. Encourage Teamwork
Positive, functioning teams are a “symptom” of a functioning company, not only in terms of productivity but also in terms of oeverall happiness. In order to promote and encourage this, the CHO should organize events like team building activities, retreats, and others that build a sense of community.
10. Empower Employees
The more power employees have regarding the company and how it works, the more emotional energy they will invest in it and the more satisfied they will feel in their day to day. At Cyberclick, for example, we make sure each and every employee gets involved in the recruitment process of a new colleague. They have the final word and decision.
How to Measure Happiness in Your Company
After winning the Best Work Places Pymes 2014 prize, many have asked us what the secret to having a happy company is. The thing is, it’s no secret. We all have some idea about what makes us more or less happy and what we can do to improve the work environment for employees.
At Cyberclick, we do many things to try to improve the happiness of everyone at the company. From celebrations in the snow, to internal trainings, to things as simple as empowering people and valuing their achievements.
However, there is one basic thing without which none of this would make sense, and that is the measurement of happiness. What good is trying to create a happy environment if you do not ask people what they enjoy and care about? How can you eliminate negativity and things that upset you if you don't understand what caused problem?
To do this, we try to measure the level of happiness of all employees regularly by sending out an e-mail titled which contains three questions:
- In what mood were you in when you started work today?
- What mood are you in leaving work today?
- From 1 to 4, how much did you enjoy what you did today?
These are simple questions that can be answered in two minutes but they give us a lot of information to improve aspects of our daily lives. At the end of the form, we have an open space where employees can share any comment, explanation, idea, etc. The questionnaire is sometimes adapted but always includes a famous quote or song to help end the day in the best possible way.
Once a week, before starting to address the priorities and objectives in our weekly meeting, we spend time looking at the results of our daily test of happiness. Colloquially, we say that we analyze "the traffic light" because we see the amount of red, yellow, green and super green feelings recorded during the previous week. We try to clarify what has caused us to be more or less happy and we see if it's possible to do something to make the coming week better than the last.
Additionally, once a month we go over the "Test of Monthly Happiness", in which we look at deeper issues such as pay, labor conciliation, or relationships with peers.
This allows us to be much more aware of our colleagues moods (or even our own) and react quickly and decisively to any problems that may arise.
This is our way of measuring happiness, but there are many others. Rocket Space in San Francisco asks employees to just press the button that best expresses their mood before leaving.
Another idea is to use the Luxafor indicator (created by the Draugiem Group), a small LED light you put on your computer screen and indicates to colleagues when they can come talk to you and when you would rather they didn't based on your level of work and concentration. In fact, there are already companies that are dedicated to creating successful applications and devices that measure happiness, such as Celpax.
Vacation Planning for a Competitive Brand
Countries with more holidays are, unsurprisingly, more efficient and happy. Moreover, flexibility and trust are aspects that increase the welfare and loyalty of workers. This is especially true in the summer. This has been demonstrated to make people happier and more efficient by a study on Productivity and Employment at the University of Zaragoza. Also, according to Regus, a global provider of workspaces, labor flexibility is one of the factors most conducive to increased effectiveness in summer.
According to numerous studies and specialists, there tends to be a correlation between happiness and efficiency. Perhaps it is for this very reason that, with four weeks of vacation, Finland topped the rankings as the happiest country according to the World Happiness Report 2021.
Having a balance between work and personal life during the holidays is another factor that contributes to the wellbeing and success of workers in the summertime. The ability to take care of house chores during the working day is the concern of many Spanish parents, who sometimes need to have greater flexibility in summer to combining these two facets.
There is also a correlation between the happiness of a country and its competitiveness. Switzerland, Germany, and many of the Nordic countries often lead the World Economic Forum on the competitiveness of countries, with four to five weeks of vacation time. Of the 20 most efficient OECD countries, only the United States does not have regulated vacations. The rest provide more than 20 days per year.
How to Celebrate Happiness
At Cyberclick we take every opportunity to celebrate, even world book day!
What did we do at Cyberclick? Reading is one of our great passions so we would not pass up celebrating this day! David Tomas, cofounder of Cyberclick, gives us a book related to happiness every year. It’s a surprise, and until it appears, no one knows which book will show up on their desk on World Book Day.
Our company’s headquarters are located in Barcelona, Spain, where World Book Day is also a local holiday, St. Jordi’s (or St. George’s) Day, which is the Catalan equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Because of this, every book is accompanied by a rose. The streets of Barcelona are full of bookstores setting up their wares (online stores highlight them on their homepages) and several literary events are organized around the city.
It has also become somewhat of a tradition here in our company. The whole team eagerly awaits their book and rose. One year, we received the book “Amor en Minúscula” (or “Lower-cased love”) by Francesc Miralles, which came with an autograph and personalized message by the author to each one of us. It’s a fun story in which the main characters are a stray cat, a curious neighbor, and young lovers. If you’d like to know more, we encourage you to read the book. Even better, we invite your whole company to read it to make everyone just that little bit happier.
As you can see, there are many ways to work toward improving collective happiness. Whether you use our methods or come up with your own, we encourage you to think about what you could implement at your workplace!