Basically this is the recognition by the CEO that happiness of the employees matters and that taking care of it is just the easiest and fastest way to massively increase the profit and efficiency of the company.
Yes, i understand that there I should explain and develop a little bit even if it seems just so obvious to me now. Hopefully it seems maybe not to be so obvious nowadays, but more and more important as we can see a rising trend of this job title especially in the US at first and now crossing slowly the ocean.
Of course, and no surprise there, it all began in the Silicon Valley where initiatives and disruptive ideas are much easier to have, develop and set up. It all began about 10 years ago.
At first the CHO was basically meant to create a nice pleasant working place and occasions of happiness for employees. You will maybe recognize some initiatives taken in your workplace as well 🙂 :
- free snacks / food
- free sport sessions (and sometimes a free gym inside the buildings)
- summer and winter parties
- incentives foreign trips
- kids days and so on
Then, if you push it to the deeper level, you will have :
- possibility of flexible time management
- open space floor plan with nice or/and funny decoration
- redesign of the office set-up
- corporate transportations….
Or you can have as well organized as well for the employees
- inspirations sessions (morning or evening dedicated to external guests providing keynotes on their passion, job…)
- business show-trades
- access to special deals and treatments (massages, beauty specialist)
- delivery of organic foods
- etc, etc…. we could go on easily
In my opinion this is basically what commun sense expect from a CHO to be and to organise.
And in my opinion, this is very far from being the true mission of a CHO.
Because, come-on, does free food, gym, massage and parties prevent people from being stressed, pressured, bad-managed, feeling incompetent, bored, burned-out and so on ?
The CHO is the one to create the conditions for people to be happy. And those conditions are not limited to comps. This has very much to do with the meaning you give to your work (search for values), the feeling of recognition you get from your hierarchy and top management, the feeling of using your skills and talents, the feeling of knowing the big picture of where your firm is going and why your role is essential to that path, the feeling of being satisfied with what you do and at the top of that the feeling of being well-treated while doing all that.
And this relates directly to the core strategy of the company. This is not a coincidence if at Zappos the CHO is the CEO.
Because the CHO should be the one dedicated to impulse the human policy that will make all those things described above true and applicable.
And this come through :
- a specific and redefined recruitment policy (pure basic that will have many consequences….)
- on-boarding specific practices,
- attentive, kind and efficient career management and follow-up
- specific attention and trainings of the top management (very often forgotten in career evolution as if their level should prevent them of facing questions and difficulties)
But this come as well with :
- setting and define the core values of the firm. A real work on the Meaning is essential. Necessary for people to join and agree and necessary as well to attract the new workers such as Y and Z generations…
- thinking on the management level…. are all levels necessary ? can people be more responsible and be granted for it ?
- how to allow people to regenerate ? through more free time, different working organisations, projects management methods (holacraty, agility, lean….)
Once again, let’s not forget that is is not just philanthropy (even if the goal is noble).
This new disruptive way of thinking will have a very simple and fast effect : increase the productivity and benefits. So, what are you waiting for ?