Does your org need a leader who worries about employee happiness?
‘Good’ stress keeps employees happy and motivated. It helps them keep their competitive spirits up, thereby encouraging a good work-life balance. Then, what is ‘bad’ stress? An authoritative source labels it as “…a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Agree? Going by this definition, stress is unavoidable in modern-day workplaces. How then, do organisations help their people cope with it?
There are lots of ways employers try to deal with employee stress. One of them is to have a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO). Ever wondered what this role is all about? A new C-suite title or just a new nomenclature for old-hat HR stuff or, worse still, an additional ‘imaginary’ title for the HR person from whom you keep getting emails?
The CHO is an HR person who frames policies to ensure employee happiness so as to get the organisation to scale up, bring down employee stress levels, and create a happy environment at the workplace. The CHO is especially valuable if your organisation employs ‘rising millennials’ as interns/employees – those younger folks who are attracted towards intangibles such as happiness and satisfaction at the workplace – than the tangible paycheck.
What does the role of a CHO involve? It involves re-defining the HR processes starting from recruitment to the complete life cycle of an employee at the workplace to bring about a happy experience for all concerned. However, all these transformations have to be made keeping in mind the company’s mission, vision, and values.
Some of the standards CHOs work to provide their employees are:
Have a voice to express their ideas
Access to leadership
Recognise and reward performance
Create discussion forums and a buddy system
Involve employees in decision making, support their growth, and
Foster an enjoyable environment through team building activities.
As per a case study on Articulate Marketing, a remote working company, when the firm grew quickly, Liz Fielder was appointed as the CHO of the firm to bring in the right culture. Engaging and connecting employees in conversations who did have a face-to-face interaction daily was a challenge to Liz. She devised policy changes and engaged in informal discussions with employees(known as “happy talks”- a forum where employees could openly speak and seek support). With this, the organisation was able to create a workspace where:
The right culture was encouraged
The right fit to the organisation culture was designed
Employees loved to work
Happy non-cribby faces were around
Hierarchy barriers in expressing views were taken down
High retention was achieved
Rewards and recognition were instituted
Articulate’s founder- Matthew Stibbe says – “With the CHO, there is a feedback loop and channel for my ideas. Fairly quickly, people can react to how policies and changes are affecting their work and have their concerns heard. In turn, this has boosted their motivation and ability to work well, as well as team morale.”
Eventually, employees learn to deal with workplace stress as they have a highly-reliable, support system policy courtesy CHOs. After all, happiness in itself should be the key to achievement.