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What Is a Chief Happiness Officer?

Chief Happiness Officer

An executive is someone who has been empowered for the purpose of ensuring that something is carried out. However, some executives are more important than others. For proof, look no further than C-suite executives, who would be the most important executives in a corporation. After all, the "C" in C-suite stands for "chief," which should make it very clear what kinds of responsibilities have been entrusted to them. Some C-suite executives are very widespread. One excellent example would be the CEO, which makes sense because that is the person who has been entrusted with overseeing the corporation by the shareholders. However, it is important to note not every corporation will have every C-suite executive because said positions are a reflection of their top priorities. Furthermore, these positions can change over time, which makes sense because priorities can change over time. For example, COOs have become less common, both because of the flattening of corporate hierarchies and because CEOs are now more capable of exercising control over their corporations than ever before. Similarly, CIOs became prominent in the 1980s because that was when there was a mass realization of the importance of IT.

What Is a Chief Happiness Officer?

By this point, chances are good that interested individuals can guess what a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) is supposed to be. The concept of a C-suite executive overseeing human resources isn't a new one, as shown by the existence of the CHRM. However, the CHO tends to be more focused than that because happy employees are productive employees.

What Does a Chief Happiness Officer Do?

Unfortunately, the exact responsibilities entrusted to a CHO can see enormous variation from case to case. Something that is perhaps unsurprising because it is a relatively novel concept, meaning that it will take time before a rough consensus is formed about what the C-suite executive is supposed to do as well as how the C-suite executive is supposed to do that. In the meantime, interested individuals should be prepared for this issue. Sometimes, a CHO isn't a real CHO so much as a preexisting position that has been renamed as such for the purpose of making things seem better. As such, those C-suite executives should be much the same as before, though it is possible that they will pick up additional powers as well as additional responsibilities that are related to their new title. Other times, a CHO will have sweeping human resources-related power that is meant to be used to improve the corporation's performance by engaging its employees as well as motivating its employees. Making people happy is a big goal, so it stands to reason that it calls for a big role.

Why Is Happiness So Important For Organizations Anyways?

There are a number of reasons why happiness can be critical for corporations as well as other organizations:

  • Happy Employees Are More Productive Employees - Fundamentally, happy employees are more productive employees. There isn't a single reason for why this is the case. Instead, there are a whole bunch of relevant factors. For example, happy employees tend to have a greater sense of investment in the organization that they work for, meaning that they want to do better than if they were unhappy. Similarly, happy employees are more engaged, meaning that they pay more attention to everything that is going on around them. Regardless, the important part is that happy employees are also more productive employees, though the exact boost in effectiveness is unclear. There are sources that claim a 13 percent boost, but there are also other sources that claim a 20 percent boost.
  • Happy Employees Are Healthy Employees - Human happiness has a very direct connection to human health. As a result, organizations can count on happy employees to take fewer sick days, thus ensuring minimal disruption to their routine operations. Something that can be particularly important for those that are reliant on certain key individuals. Besides this, human health has an important impact on the efficacy as well as the efficiency of people's work, so there is a meaningful day-to-day effect even if people aren't calling in sick.
  • Happy Employees Are Less Stressed-Out - On a related note, happy employees tend to be less stressed-out. This is important because stress weighs down on people, meaning that it can impair them in a wide range of ways. Some of these effects might not seem particularly important in the grand scheme of things. However, they are both numerous and widespread, meaning that their cumulative effect is no laughing matter.
  • Happy Employees Are Likelier to Engage in Smart Risk-Taking - Generally speaking, happy employees are the ones who are likeliest to engage in smart risk-taking, which means taking potentially beneficial risks while doing their best to mitigate the potential downsides. This is important because smart risk-taking is how organizations can make the greatest gains. In contrast, unhappy employees tend to go for whatever option that will enable them to get by with the least effort, which tends to be very safe.
  • Happy Employees Are Likelier to Learn More - On a related note, happy employees are also likelier to learn more. To name an example, not every risk will prove to be worthwhile even if interested individuals take the proper precautions. However, when employees are working in a supportive environment, they will be able to learn from each of their mistakes. Something that should enable them to increase their chances of success in future endeavors. Meanwhile, their unhappy counterparts will grow at a much slower rate, particularly if they are afraid of being treated poorly if they make a mistake.
  • Happy Employees Are Likelier to Stick Around - Perhaps unsurprisingly, happy employees are likelier to stick around than their unhappy counterparts. This is important because most organizations want to reduce their employee turnover. After all, new employees tend to be unproductive. Furthermore, new employees cost money to train up to an acceptable level of competency. As such, every unhappy employee can represent a bundle of related costs for their eventual replacement.
  • Happy Employees Make It Easier to Find Good Talent - People talk. Due to this, workers have a good idea where they do and do not want to work. Organizations that make their employees happy will have a much easier time securing the best talent, thus empowering themselves to go further than otherwise possible.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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