Chief Happiness Officer – The importance of workplace wellbeing

Ivy Life Leadership

In the following interview, we meet Emmanuelle de Cannière, who recently joined us as our HR Director and Chief Happiness Officer. She explains her role as a CHO and how companies have no choice but to place the well-being of their employees at the forefront of their strategy to retain them and recruit new talent more efficiently.

  • What is the role of a Chief Happiness Officer?

To contribute to developing and establishing a positive and inspiring corporate culture by improving internal relations, creating strong connections, organizing team-building activities, and creating a safe space for expression, listening, and support.

It is important to regularly assess the well-being and engagement of employees via interviews, surveys, or other tools, to determine the main areas of improvement to optimize the quality of life at work in a targeted manner, to meet the real needs and desires of employees.

However, a CHO cannot be solely responsible for the well-being of employees, it is a team effort, and everyone is responsible. Therefore, at Ivy Partners, we created the Happy at Ivy Working Group. Composed of 4 members, we reflect on and work on various areas related to this theme to offer the best experience to our employees.

  • Why is a CHO essential for the present and the future?

It is the first guarantor of the Quality of Life at Work (QVT). It is an essential role. Many studies have shown that happy employees are more efficient, less absent, more loyal to their team, and more creative. Efforts to retain talent are less costly than recruiting new employees or dealing with an employee’s long-term sickness. It’s a win-win situation, and it is no longer possible to turn a blind eye to the importance of well-being at work.

Ivy Partners sent this strong message by appointing a CHO less than two years after its creation. The core pillar of Ivy Partners is based on one essential principle: a people-first approach.

  • Why are we hiring more CHO?

There has been increased awareness of the importance of being fulfilled and happy at work. This is especially important considering we spend about one-third of our life there.

For me, two factors have had a substantial impact on this growth.

First, the pandemic we have experienced over the past two years. During this period of stress and confinement, many employees reviewed their priorities. Living a meaningful life with a quest for more happiness and well-being is a priority for many now. As a result, many employees are now willing to change companies to obtain better working conditions, even if it means making less money!

The second factor concerns the generation of young workers entering the labour market. Generation Z has new expectations from their employer. Flexible working conditions, a work-life balance, a meaningful job, and having a positive impact on society are decisive criteria when choosing a future employer.

Consequently, companies have no choice but to place the well-being of their employees at the forefront of their strategy to retain them and recruit new talent more efficiently.

  • How can we define happiness at work?

The definition of happiness at work is probably subjective and unique to each person. For some, it is the positive work atmosphere between colleagues. For others, it is the opportunity for development and responsibility or finding meaning in their daily work.

And all these answers are relevant!

I like to use the 3 Rs – a Happy at Work tool, which introduces the 12 levels of well-being at work: Relationships (trust, support, communication, recognition), Results (autonomy, use of talents, impact and resources) and Resilience (senses, emotional, mental and physical capacity).

  • How can we find meaning at work?

Work has meaning when it creates value, is helpful, is valued, engaging, ethical, and aligned with your values. But, first, you need to find your Why as per the famous Simon Sinek theory.

 It is essential to note the importance of alignment between what is written by the company (strategy, objectives, processes, the “theoretical” values) and what is perceived and experienced by the employees. This is what we would call the company culture, behaviors, and “practical” values.

  • How did CHO help employees wellbeing during Covid?

Most of the CHOs have been on all fronts and have proven their effectiveness in dealing with the new challenges that arose with the pandemic. From the management of the equipment necessary for teleworking, to organising online events to break the feeling of isolation and support internal communication, or organizing workshops on managing emotions, detecting signs of burn-out, coaching… So many actions to support employees to better get through the difficulty of confinement.

  •  Why did you decide to join Ivy Partners?

When I met the (passionate!) co-founders of the company, I was immediately convinced by the Ivy mission and their vision. “They walk their talk”, and it’s rare and precious!

Joining Ivy Partners as HR Director and CHO means having the chance to align my skills, values, and ambitions in the field as close as possible to the teams and co-build the future of this growing and ambitious young company.

Click here to learn more about Ivy Partners’ values and our services.

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