Is the Chief Happiness Officer a huckster?

by bold-lichterman

Arnaud Collery is a chief Happiness Officer and the author of Mister Happy and I didn’t hesitate to jostle him for this interview.
The speeches on happiness and the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) are flourishing in all directions at the moment and we are entitled to ask ourselves if it is a fad or conversely a band-aid to a sick society?
DNA magazine recently laughed at a titled article “No, ping pong and aperitifs will not make your employees happy”.
Others talk about the tyranny of happiness as the author and sociologist Eva Illouz

So beyond the cliché, I wanted to explore with one of the oldest CHOs that I know if this profession was of real use.

Chief Happiness Officer: bullshit or not?

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According to Arnaud, everything is a question of authenticity.
To the extent or to unite its employees, it is necessary to create an emotional attachment above all, this necessarily requires authenticity within the organization.
As he recalls, it is not a question of a manager making employees happy, of course, but of allowing them to release their emotions by accepting the emotional state in which they find themselves every day.
According to him, this allows more creativity and productivity.
Well-being at work is therefore at the heart of the company since it helps both employees and the company.
According to him, this is also one of the revolutions that companies must face and many Chief Digital Officers talk about it like Maud Bailly at Accor elsewhere.
In the end, for Arnaud, the CHO is a “simple” empathy accelerator.
A need all the more important for men in particular have a difficult access to their vulnerability and more generally to their emotions.
Moreover, according to him, it is certainly not a thing of Parisian bobos who have only that as a concern, but an essential element for all the employees since the bases of his profession are respect and listen.

The Chief Happiness Officer, is it just to generate more profits?

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This is obviously a criticism that is systematically made to this profession.
If the bosses decide to go down the path of happiness at work and it is all about profit, then it is questionable if we really want to go down this path.
Arnaud’s answer is relatively simple.
For him, the impact on profit is not his main issue, he is mainly interested in people.
Therefore, what he wants above all is to ensure that people are well in their work and we can say that there is reason to ask questions with the waves of suicides that we see regularly in the news …
In this context, an article has just appeared in Belgium highlights the increase in parental burn out.
This legitimately raises the question of well-being at work, particularly in lives where we all juggle between personal and professional life …
And of course, feeling good about your job can have a big impact on how you deal with stress better.
However Arnaud does not believe in this balance, he prefers to speak of the integration of one life into the other than of balance.
Allowing people to express their emotions allows, according to Arnaud, to amplify people, and to be “the best versions of themselves”.
It is obvious to Arnaud that people who are better at their work will produce more and that this will benefit the company.
One study even proved that it could improve productivity by up to 30%.
But again, this is more of a consequence than a goal.

In the end for Arnaud, far from being bullshit, this profession undoubtedly responds to a social problem in which we have focused our efforts for a long time on profit.
And in doing so, we forgot that at the origin of everything, there were men and women.
It is therefore a fair swing to find basic principles of life in society.

The expert:


Gregory Pouy is the founder of LaMercatique, a digital transformation consulting firm focused on the marketing part. Based between New York and Paris, he is a marketing “expert” for To follow his writings and discuss with him, visit his blog, [email protected]