Hiring happiness managers, this new trend in fashion in French companies – Edition du soir Ouest-France

Increase festivity and well-being in the workplace. Here is the job description of the “happiness manager”. A promising proposal that is becoming more and more popular among companies. But this raises some questions. We take stock.

Here is a new post with a very interesting name. This happiness manager or made a striking entrance to the offices “responsible for happiness”. There were close to 150 happiness managers in French companies in 2019. chief happiness officersin job postings. Currently 710 in France to claim this position in the social network dedicated to working on LinkedIn. But what exactly does this Anglicism mean? Does this position really have the resources to “produce happiness” in business life? Descriptions

Created by Google in the 1970s to increase employee productivity

To fully understand the creation of this new profession, we must go back to its source. Back in the 1970s, Google would rely on research that explained that being happy at work increases employee productivity, Explains Daphnée Breton, a work and organizational psychologist and founder of the firm Sens et Travail. Chade-Meng Tan, an engineer working at the company, who turns to people’s development and well-being, will create the company’s first post. happiness managerwe will say ” very nice guy » (super good friend). »

Increase festivity and well-being at work

But what does it do concretely? happiness manager ? Natacha (default name) occupied this post for about three years. The 30-year-old worked for a large company specializing in this field in the Ile-de-France region. Is it his duty? “Basically, connecting Corinne from accounting and Michel from IT, He explains with a smile. I was responsible for promoting festivity and well-being at work. »

Also read: How to effectively prevent burnout?

Natacha was a “happiness manager” for three years. Its mission: to make several hundred employees smile. (Picture photo: Pixabay)

A function awarded first place by Parisian big groups

He continued this role as an external service provider. Are you a business owner in need? happiness manager ? Natacha’s company makes someone (or someone) available for you.

Natacha will therefore travel from office to office to make people happy. It is usually sent to business cluster areas where 600 to 1,000 people work. According to business and organizational psychologist Daphnée Breton, this position is found “in the head offices of large groups and start-ups globally, which will extend the model to all companies”.

The happiness manager position has developed mainly in large groups in the tertiary sector near Paris. (Photo: Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

“Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, Halloween Pumpkin Workshop”

During these three years, the happiness manager organizes various activities to facilitate the life of the employees of the companies he is sent to. “I set up sports activities, small markets in the office, explains it to us. Is Mother’s Day approaching? We’re bringing in an exhibitor who sells jewelry or something. Is Christmas soon? We’re going to do the ugliest sweater contest. Halloween is approaching? Let’s make a pumpkin workshop. »

While the process is not always understood – it is often asked what it means – happiness manager generally well received. It also provides corporate concierge services. Appointment to renew your passport, laundry, car wash, former happiness manager took care of it all, “like in big hotels” .

A position that deals with the environment, not the job

“Globally, predicts work psychologist Daphnée Breton, missions happiness manager to create a positive working culture and to try to improve the internal relations of the company, to create social bonds. concretely, happiness managers arrange massage and meditation sessions, arrange toll-free numbers for psychologists, etc. But paradoxically, missions do not focus strictly on the work, but on aspects that are on the periphery of the work. »

According to him, creating such a position in a company, “A small image that enhances the company’s image”. But he gets angry “But we do not act on the real causes of happiness, that is, to ensure that workers do their jobs in good conditions, so that they can do good work, and we do not allow them to be recognized and recognized for their fair value”.

Pretty meager budget

The budget allocated to these services does not allow much to be done. Natacha had €1,500 a year. “Generally, a budget used to buy calendar decorations for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc. » The rest usually costs the Happiness Manager nothing. “For example, when you bring in an osteopath, it is the employee who pays for the session.”

happiness manageris it a good situation?

Finally, the job itself can be a source of difficulty. Everything was fine for Natacha until the start of the pandemic. There, he decided to form a company in his company. happiness manager from a distance. He is then asked to create a newsletter to continue being responsible for happiness at a distance and to pursue his missions via videoconferencing.

not feeling “necessary”and Natacha, who is finding it increasingly difficult to stick with the project, seeks a break from the traditional. Human resources response? “State your resignation”.

“We were in the middle of Covid, no one knew when it would end. I refused. » Very quickly, the situation is escalating. “I tell them I don’t have enough work, they decide to put me in pairs on the assignments I left… It was terrible”, he sums it up.

Ironically, after these bad talks, Natacha has to run a session to make the staff smile. Eventually, he gets in touch with a lawyer who sorts out the situation. Natacha’s contract is terminated and she leaves the industry.

Mission impossible?

Taking on the role of manager of happiness is difficult, according to Daphnée Breton, because we end up being limited to roles of animator rather than manager.

happiness managers they have no room for movement in the organization and occupy very operational positions without any influence on the company’s decisions in terms of working conditions and employment. Accomplishing their mission is ultimately impossible…”

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