Very inspiring and innovating way of thinking :
I believe in dreams
I believe in humanity.
I believe in hopes.
I believe in the incredible.
I believe that you can change your life in an instant by looking at thing differently.
I believe that failures, stops, changes can be not only good but also a luck.
I come from a generation where working was a duty. Where it was absolutely out of question to even wonder what were your talents, wishes, wills and dreams. Where it was just question to find a job and that was tough because we were discovering high – crisis unemployement. So if you were lucky enough to find one, you were gently but firmly asked to shut it up, to bend you head and to be low profile. How many times did i hear that. “Low profile cause hundreds of people like you are waiting there outside” so if you were not happy you were just asked to leave (impossible at that time) or to shut up and to thank the people who had had the kindness to hire you.
At that time, about 20 years ago, we did not really care about who you were, what you were attracted by, what you were good at, no we were just interested by your diploma (unfortunately this has not changed that much…..), and by how fast you would adapt to the job, firm, how adaptable you would be to changes (never agreed with you….).
And my generation did not fight it. We respectefully listened to our famly, friends, teachers… all people with nothing but good intentions just willing to see us protected and well placed in a good job in a good institution….
But then we woke up, I woke up.
How many 40 yo people suddenly open their eyes to realise that they’ve been doing nothing more than working for something they did nit really lile, they did not really agree for and especially they did not really chose !
Of course, not everyone is equal and not everyone can have the leisure to really chose what he/she does but nevertheless we can still be happy at work and go there very monday morning with a sense of joy, duty, and feeling to belong where you’re supposed to be.
Thanks to the next generations (the Millemials are fascinating in the way their pursue their real self), it is now not only not rare but becoming more and more popular to have happiness and self-achievement as a first professional target.
More and more individual people, public & private organisations, small and big companies begin to think about what and how to do to help /make their employee happier in their daily routine. Can be small or big but the biggestchange is that now it is legitimate to consider being happy at work.
And so no, it is not a naive dream, it will be soon be standard for an individual and a company.
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 ?
Today, i want to share my disappointment about my new will to be a CHO. Have you ever felt extatic about a something you realise deeply, like a connection that suddenly arises into your soul, mind and body about something you want to do. Like a search you have for ages and that suddenly comes to a point where it all makes sense. For me it happened very recently. Like a few days ago. Professionaly speaking, i have never felt i was in the right place, the right spot, especially the right job, where i was aimed to be. I have always been looking for a ‘Mission’, where all my talents (even if very simple) could be used and hopefully magnified. Where all my skills (professional and personal), my dreams and my interests would merge to serve one function. And miracle ! That happened ! The light came in : i would be a Chief Happiness Officer (which i believe i already am but this another story). But then, and this is where the disappointment arises, you announce and proclaim your intention. And you face it with the market. I am not talking about your inner circle made of family, good friends and relatives. No, i am talking about the market. Corporations, firms and especially organisations made to help job seekers to find a job and why not achieve their dreams ! And then, begin the long tail of negative impressions and warnings. All supposed to be meant to help you but finally all made to diminish your ambitions, limit yourself and raise all the obstacles that you will encounter. In short, discourage you. Of course, you know them all. You are not stupid and it is not because you’re enthusiastic that you have no sense of reality. But com’on, what about helping someone to gather his thoughts, strengths, to show him the positive sides, giving him ideas, tips, connections.
Yes. The CHO is a rising job, not very well know and not spread yet ! And then ? Better ! That makes more opportunities.
Yes. No idea about how much a CHO earns. Yes again ! And then ? Did the creators began anything making bet on how much they would earn. They were just driven by passion.
Yes. I did not do it before and there is no degree in happiness. And so ? Don’t you think that 25 years of experience in big international firms gives you a little bit of qualified experience in what makes people happy or not ? So, yes, it is a lonely road, that i never took before, but i believe this is the one.
Cause you have to start with something ;-).
Because i am not yet recognized as an expert on that matter eventhough i do think and insist on the fact that working for more than 20 years in major international companies gives you more than a fair idea about what happiness could be at work and definitely a very clear one as well about what is not happiness at work.
My ambition here is to share opinions, demonstrate how efficient have been proven new management methods, develop ideas, not necessarily new but at least rising and more and more proven.