Why every organization needs a Chief Happiness Officer

Data-driven approach for workplace wellness and improved employee productivity

It’s no longer debatable: happiness is a business-critical ingredient to any workplace. Growing evidence points to the positive impact of happiness on modern organizations, including in important areas such as productivity levels, sales numbers, stock prices, and more. Enter the Chief Happiness Officer.

But of course, setting a goal for workplace happiness is far easier said than done. The real question is, how do you go about achieving it? The demands of work and life seem ever-climbing, and human nature inclines even the best of us to fall into habits and routines that don’t serve us well. And even when we’re able to identify concrete factors that would increase our happiness, it’s tough to find the time (and energy) to actually make positive changes.

The good news is that there’s a solid place to start. Healthy habits and mindful self-care have been shown to pave the way toward happier mindsets. Here are three simple ways you can tackle your workplace happiness project, and encourage happier, healthier teams for a happier, healthier business.

Harness the power of data

While one’s health is a product of far more than just numbers and statistics, there’s simply no good reason not to start with data. Why not leverage accessible consumer technologies to move the needle? You can easily create a wellness program in your workplace starting with investing in wearable fitness trackers for your employees.

If you’re worried about the cost of investing in such hardware, remember to keep your eyes on the prize. A strategic and thoughtful approach to wellness will ultimately deliver a return on your investment in the form of happier, more productive, and more motivated employees. In addition, most employees will feel positive knowing that you care about their health, and are willing to put dollars, time, and effort toward their well-being. Making it a team effort will also make them feel connected to a shared purpose.

And think of it this way: would you rather pay $100 for a fitness tracker, or pay hospitalization costs for a stroke?

How the Chief Happiness Officer can Motivate & Reward

Once you’ve equipped your team with wearables, set company-wide goals based on steps and physical activity, hydration, mindful meditation, and more. Empower each team member to keep track of their own personal data to monitor their progress, and encourage accountability and friendly competition by structuring a brief review of results in your weekly team meetings.

Of course, one of the best ways to motivate as a Chief Happiness Officer is to reward. How often you do so is up to you — you can offer smaller prizes on a weekly basis to top performers, such as a Starbucks or Amazon gift card. You can also set aside larger prizes monthly, for both top performers and most improved to reward those making a real effort. Again — for every dollar you spend on investing in your employees’ happiness, you can expect a manifold return.

Optimize

Businesses spend a huge chunk of money on employee medical insurance and benefits, and you can optimize these costs by creating better alignment between insurance plan design and the real needs of your employees. Make sure that your copays and deductibles aren’t so high that they are discouraging your employees from seeking preventative care or getting treatment that will keep them healthier in the long run. This approach needs careful balance, of course — benefits should be designed to guide your employees to the lowest-cost option first when possible.

Don’t forget that keeping people healthier is guaranteed to keep your costs in check because insurance companies determine renewals based upon your past claims, diagnosis and prognosis codes, as well as employee demographics. If your employees are relatively unhealthy and generating expensive or chronic claims, you’ll pay more and likely be subject to bigger annual increases in your rate. Remember that insurance companies — whether for profit or not — don’t want to insure groups that cost them more than they take in on premiums!

Conclusion: Chief Happiness Officer

Fancy lounge chairs with huge widescreen TVs just a few rooms down from your office. A full juice bar just steps away. Across the hall, a fully outfitted gym awaits you, to help burn off the stress endured all week. This isn’t a fantasy — companies like Google have embraced this type of workplace culture for reason — they know that employee happiness and well-being leads to a more productive and efficient organization. The Chief Happiness Officer: A win-win for all involved. This is yet another example of data-driven organizations.