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Does Your Firm Need a 'Chief Happiness Officer'?

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD | Last updated on

Among the many stereotypes that lawyers have to deal with, the one that rings true is the high rate of depression among attorneys. Let's face it -- we are not a happy lot. But maybe we can be.

A growing trend among corporations, especially those in Silicon Valley, is the appointment of Chief Happiness Officers. This new member of the C-suite is responsible for making sure employees are happy. Sound silly? It may seem so at first, but when you understand the context, it makes a bit more sense.

Read on to learn more about Chief Happiness Officers, and whether your firm needs one.

Why Is Employee Happiness Important?

Don't underestimate the value of happy employees; happy employees are more productive. Not convinced? Companies that have been show to care more about employee well being by providing more "perks" at work outperform the Dow 8 to 1. While your law firm is not a publicly traded company, we can learn from the basic management principles that make these companies thrive. In law, the more productive your team is, the more you can bill. And, isn't that the end goal for your firm?

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What Is a Chief Happiness Officer?

In a nutshell, Chief Happiness Officers "busy themselves with diagnosing the emotional wellbeing of their workers, as well as adjusting workplace policy and culture in order to create the conditions for happiness," says New Republic. Normally, the Chief Happiness Officer is a full-time position, but for smaller companies, there's no reason why this function can't be absorbed by other members of the management team.

Does Your Firm Need a Chief Happiness Officer?

To determine whether your firm needs a Chief Happiness Officer you should ask yourself a few questions. What is your firm culture? Do you pride yourself on being a lifestyle firm? Do your employees come first? Next, you may want to get some feedback from employees. Are they happy at work? Is there anything at work that is contributing to problems affecting work like depression?

Once you've determined whether you think a Chief Happiness Officer would add value to your firm, then proceed in a way that makes sense for the size of your firm. If you are a five-person office, then hiring someone to do this job may be a stretch. But if you are a sizable small firm and the task of thinking about employee happiness is not something that any of the existing partnership can take on, it may be worth hiring a Chief Happiness Officer.

And if nothing else, think of all the amusing business cards the job would inspire.

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