First things first, what exactly is a chief happiness officer? If I’d had to guess I figured it was the man who sold ice-creams out of small town seaside van, but I would have been incorrect.
Along the way CEO’s must have been told that happy people make better employees which is how this new role came to exist.
Of course, they could offer more flexible hours, respect, recognition and a few extra holiday days but why do that when you can spend the same amount of money on a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) who will install a foosball machine so you get 10 minutes of escapism during your 6 hours overtime.
A CHO is essentially a HR Manager with a unique focus: to make sure their company’s employees are the happiest they can be.
According to the Daily Mail, a contender for the next managing partner of a renowned multinational law firm located in London claimed this week that the firm needs to recruit a "chief happiness officer" for its employees.
People working at a big corporate law firm are unhappy? They mustn’t have a pinball machine.
Not many people are buying into the need for a CHO and believe the role to be…BS, to put it frankly.
Most people would be happiest with varying versions of the examples given above, but we don’t need a CHO to get recognition or an extra couple days leave a year.
So it seems like it’s not about wanting to make someone happy; it's a cynical HR intrusion into our lives. It offers a corporation the appearance of caring about its employees when, in reality, it is considerably more concerned with its bottom line.
According to studies, once we have a minimum standard of living, enough food and appropriate shelter, everything else becomes a bit worthless in terms of making us happy.
For the vast majority of people, the relationships we make with others are the source of their happiness.
Which means having a “not like a regular boss” cool CHO annoying us with a ‘how are we feeling today chart’ could actually lead to more unhappiness in the office.
You know what might actually help with happiness? A monthly visit from the ice-cream van. Ice-creams on the CEO of course.