CHO position, or Chief Hapiness Officer, is currently in and popular! But it can mean so many things... I was curious to learn more about Gabriel Campeau's project CHO SVP. I went to meet him in the coworking space he has created in St-Henri, the southwest of Montreal, Le Tableau Blanc.
Gabriel, tell us a bit about yourself and how your project came to be. . .
I am a sociologist as well as a training liaison officer. My career has led me to navigate in a variety of environments, such as the restaurant industry, university scientific research, community organizations, and in recent years, private entrepreneurship. I founded the Le Tableau Blanc (The Whiteboard) coworking space in the St-Henri neighborhood in January 2016 and I have been doing it full-time ever since. This space allowed me to meet over 150 business owners from all sectors of activity. It has taught me a lot in dealing with entrepreneurial challenges, but it also introduced me to the pleasures of realizing one’s own vision. I also co-founded a non-profit named Coworking Québec. The idea is to expand the Québec coworking movement without favouring one space over another.
It was while looking for new ways to improve my coworking space that the idea of CHO SVP came to me. Wanting to provide the ideal workspace to my clients, I developed expertise in managing office space, delivering services to customers and office space user experience. So the idea came to me to offer companies my know-how in this area. Many times I’ve seen the importance for my clients to have a dedicated full-time employee to job satisfaction and I wondered why it was that companies don’t systematically have someone dedicated to that. Why not give them the chance to fix this? While doing my research on the subject, I came across the concept of Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), which fit in well with my vision and that of my two partners in the project, Coralie Cressent and Francine Campeau. Once our vision was clearly defined, it was the beginning of CHO SVP!
A CHO can be an HR director in some companies or a Chef in another. What function do you want to give your CHO?
Every business context is different and employee satisfaction can take many forms. The important thing is to take the company where it is and give it a nudge to improve its employee satisfaction level. Our CHOs can have several very different tasks, depending on the situation of the company. They can deal with event management, welcoming new employees, improving interior design or office layout, internal communications . . . in short, they adapt to the needs of the business. They are versatile actors whose task is to identify the weakest elements or the irritants in the office space and to improve them. If it’s a food-related challenge that the company is facing, then we send someone who can help at that level.
However, it’s important to mention that we don’t act on matters relating to human resources per se, such as salary conditions, benefits or employee schedules. For these questions, we have partners that we can refer clients to. We specialize in office environment user experience. In other words, we’re hyper-concierges!
But, concretely, how does it work?
When a company finds that it needs an extra boost to improve its employee satisfaction or retention level, we begin by proposing a preliminary audit in order to assess the situation. We question employees and managers and observe the office surroundings to see what’s happening, but, more importantly, what could improve the experience. Starting from this, we propose an action plan to cover a 6-month period. If the company already has a clear idea of what it needs, we can go directly to implementation. The actions implemented can be as diverse as setting up a jogging club, an on-premise hairdresser, painting the walls, adding a food station for snacks or adding plants or decoration, always based on the true needs of the company.
Once the plan is validated, one of our CHOs—selected according to the needs of the company and trained by our team—is deployed in the workplace. He/she works there every day to put the plan in place and become the reference person for employee satisfaction at work. Throughout his/her mandate, he/she makes sure to consult with employees, find out their needs and reduce irritants while implementing small well-being elements daily. Not reporting to the same boss as the employees, the CHO has the distance and the neutrality necessary to listen to them, without them fearing that their boss will perceive them as being dissatisfied with their job. It’s also a very concrete way for employers to show their interest in having satisfied employees.
How much will it cost?
Two options are available: you can either have a part-time or full-time CHO.
If present on a full-time basis, our CHOs can take care of up to 200 employees. Beyond this number, a second CHO is required. The price is $37,800 for a 6-month term, or $6,300/month. This is approximately $1.50 per employee per business day. Our CHOs work 5 days a week for a total of 35 hours a week. This amount also includes the CHO support team’s time and the CHO’s working equipment.
If working on a part-time basis, the cost of a 6-month term is $18,900. Our CHOs are on premises half-days, either in the morning or the afternoon. They can take care of up to 100 employees. The price remains around $1.50 per employee per day for businesses with 100 employees.
The preliminary audit is worth $3,000. However, the cost of the audit is reduced by half with a 6-month contract, and completely free for a one-year term!
For you, what is happiness at work?
For me, happiness at work, is a combination of small elements that alone don’t make a big difference but do make one when added up! The devil is in the details, as they say, so the details are our focus. Job satisfaction is both the ability to feel stimulated, comfortable in the work environment, to feel that one is considered an important part of the business rather than just a resource. It’s a healthy environment where you can work efficiently and where you’ll have all the necessary amenities at our fingertips. If, in addition, you have time to socialize and build relationships with colleagues and feel that someone is taking care of you, you’ve hit the jackpot! From my perspective, a sense of belonging and pride for the company you’re working for completes the picture.
CHO SVP is currently looking for companies who would be ready to test their services. Feel free to contact Gabriel to learn more about it: firstname.lastname@example.org