If the health crisis has profoundly altered occupational habits, it is clear that it has also played an important role in our perception of the world of work. Indeed, today’s employees no longer have the same relationship with their company, which defines their private lives. In order to maintain their talents, employers rely on welfare, and thus some call in a Chief Happiness Officer. However, if the position presents a certain novelty on paper, it already seems outdated in view of the difficulties of the professional environment. We must think outside the box and introduce new forms of organization to meet the expectations of new generations.
Reinventing the corporate culture to revive the idea of belonging
Born in the United States in the early 2000s, the Chief Happiness Officer first appeared in Google. Thus the CHO’s mission is to improve working conditions within the company and to create social bonds. Innovative for some, trend-swapping for others, it seems hard for the same person to hold everything at arm’s length, especially if the basics aren’t there! In fact, the “good life” in the office is built above all around a corporate culture in line with the values that are being defended.
Is CHO finally becoming? In any case, the new generations seem to think so. Deeply affected by the health crisis, they would instead expect a company to have a real approach to corporate social responsibility and offer participatory management, rather than a plethora of superficial actions that suggest it is shirking its commitments. Entertainment time is over, which is certainly fun but not enough. It’s time to create a model that achieves consensus, accepting a certain porosity between professional life and personal life. Concretely, with remote work becoming popular, it will be a question of creating a responsive local department, favoring regular events (mini-seminars, lunches with staff, etc.). Properly re-enchanting their employees requires careful listening to their needs and ongoing support. The company will thus succeed in inculcating a positive state of mind that will enhance the employer’s brand.
Adopt new positions
Rethinking its economic model has become a necessity for companies: they must adapt themselves to civil society and free themselves from the hitherto preferred hierarchical model of transition to cross-functional management. However, this approach will be futile if the employee does not also adopt a new posture. We must not forget that the employment contract implies reciprocity and does not say “do what makes you happy” but “work for what I pay you”. The employee should not wait for the company to decide for him what meaning to give, being the only person who can do so. He must show independence and show his commitment by offering work that satisfies. But how do you leave room for initiative while controlling it? Separating the role of the “expert” or operational manager as such (the salesperson manager is the best salesperson) from the role of the custodian of corporate culture is key. By decentralizing this authority, the ‘expert’ manager will be clearly identified by his subordinates as the one who will allow them to carry out their work according to the rules of the art and not as the one who monitors their welfare. So he will no longer be defeated and will unleash his full potential in what he was appointed for. It is also necessary to disentangle the manager and the HR function in order to create linkage on one side and implement policies on the other side. The roles are complementary and therefore cannot overlap. More broadly, mindsets may evolve in a company if it agrees to change its old habits. Admittedly, changing codes is risky, but it’s best to face the future. By daring to undermine their profitability and invest in value creation, they will lay the foundations for a new world.
Without diminishing the role of the CHO, it is now important to question it in light of new expectations and a certain mistrust of new generations. In fact, many companies do a “happy wash” and take pride in having CHO chiefs when they’re driving a bad dynamic. A climate of true trust cannot exist without an organizational model that integrates employee needs and sincere collective commitment.
Tribune By Cecil Lachan, Humanskills COO
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