CHO – Chief Happiness Officer

This weekend, I read about the inauguration of Venezuela’s first Vice-Minister of Happiness (full story here) and this got me thinking. In a previous post on the happy planet index I was wondering if and how you can apply this in a business context. I’ve had the exact same idea when hearing of this new title in the Venezuelan government.

What if someone in your company was responsible for the wellbeing and happiness of the employees? And I’m not talking happiness for the sake of productivity or HR (Human Resource Management is quite possible one of the worst terms you can ever use when talking about working with people), I’m talking about happiness for the sake of happiness. I’m talking about being happy about the work you’re doing, the people you’re working with and why you’re working.

We are people. We are not resources. We like to be treated as a person and this is absolutely legitimate. Signing an employment agreement with an employer doesn’t mean : “throw your brain and your heart into the trash can. These are useless here”. We are people with thoughts, feelings and talents. We have up and downs but most of the time, we are motivated people if we find the right opportunities to deliver results with our talents and capabilities.

This is why I’m not Human Resources Manager.

So, as I was thinking all that, I figured the best title for that job should be the title of CHO – Chief Happiness Officer. So, I typed it in Google, just to see if I wasn’t using a term that already signified something else, and I found the term is actually being used already!

Happier people are healthier. They are less stressed. They are more creative. They dare more. They connect to more people. They enjoy to be considered as people and behave with respect towards other. They spread their happiness around them. They shine.

Giving freedom to people, considering them as adults, allowing people to work in team, asking people and the team to be accountable of their choices, trusting people and being. Putting the team first. Being “egoless”.

Freedom + Responsibility = Happiness + Performance.

This is why I’m Chief Happiness Officer.

I found this great TEDx-talk from a TEDx in Copenhagen on arbejdsglaede which I embedded below. Think about it. How can you bring arbejdsglaede to your work. For yourself and for your colleagues.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.


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