Just a few years ago, far fewer than we tend to think, having technological skills and incorporating them into the world of work seemed anecdotal. Just the dream of a few techies. Now, knowing how to pilot a drone or operate a 3D printer opens more doors than office automation or language courses. And the same has happened with social skills. Who would have thought that a good community manager would be in such demand? Well, it is.
The same goes for skills related to Work Life Balance. Gradually, professions will emerge in the very near future whose success rate is will be closely linked to balance in and out of work. Moreover, there will be professionals who will only be responsible for ensuring this balance, which will soon become essential in those companies that are committed to the value of people and the profitability of a happy employee.
“Back To The Future IV”
And what are we going to call that job of the future? Anglo-Saxons have already given it a name. It’ s called Chief Happiness Officer (CHO). In Spanish it is less flashy and sounds like a character from a fantasy world like Narnia: ‘Responsable de la Felicidad’ (Happiness manager). In fact, it is necessary to give this position a twist.
As Forbes magazine states, “its implementation is still limited” and Google -together with half a dozen companies listed on the Nasdaq that are testing the creation of new professions- is among the pioneers in creating this department. In practice, happiness at work is everyone’s responsibility, but synergies arise more quickly if there is a driving force that knows how to provide incentives beyond a well-paid salary or a solid work culture. A kind of Vicente del Bosque, the only coach who knew how to successfully manage Real Madrid’s roster full of galácticos in the early 2000s. Or Steven Soderbergh, who turned the script of “Ocean’s Eleven” into a blockbuster despite having a cast full of film stars whom he had to temper in order to prevent ego struggles among Clooney, Pitt, Damon, García and company from devouring the project.
In search of happiness and balance
Returning to the figure of the Chief Happiness Officer, it will be up to him or her not only to attract talent, but to retain it. For example, would you prefer to work four days a week instead of five? Well, this is already happening. It’s hard to believe, but the same thing occurred when the benefits of split and intensive working time were discussed.
And the same is true for online training on working hours, or the possibility of organizing work by objectives by encouraging optional overtime —always with the possibility of compensation. What’s interesting, moreover, is that this debate is totally applicable to existing professions today, and not just those to come. In fact, the American job search portal FlexJobs already deals with offers in that direction. Most of them are exclusive to:
- Sales Departments
- Information technologies
- Programming and development
- Health and medicine
- Distance education and learning
- Administration and finance
- Human Resources
Professions of the future with no instruction manual…yet
But the paper is still blank and the expansion of Work-Life Balance is not a closed niche for technology companies or newcomers. On the podium of the companies that make their employees happier we find everything from a multinational that manufactures and sells furniture and home accessories to one that manufactures personal care, perfume and baby products. Yes, Ikea and Johnson & Johnson. Both stand out for offering non-monetary incentives to encourage and involve their employees, all managed by a department or a responsible Chief Happiness Officer.
Assuming the creation of this position and paying for it can lead to initial reluctance in a company. But before issuing a verdict, many of the tasks that would fall to a good Chief Happiness Officer should be detailed: actively listening to workers, programming strategies and actions that improve the degree of well-being, associating the employee’s objectives with those of the company, facilitating the resolution of labour conflicts, promoting the company’s values in line with the group, etc.
According to the Felicidad y Trabajo study carried out by the Mexican consultancy firm Crecimiento Sustentable among more than 1,500 professionals, happy people show greater energy and dynamism in their work tasks. This results in more efficiency and productivity within companies, reduced risk of accidents, greater capacity to react to solve problems thanks to a positive vision, and better adaptation to changes. In view of the benefits, certainly more than one manager —and future fellow workers— will become more comfortable with the idea of creating a new job or hiring a person responsible for the happiness of the brand.