• EQS Cockpit
  • Whistleblowing
  • Insider Management
  • Policy manager
  • Investor Targeting
  • Disclosure
  • Webcast
  • Career
Back to overview

From Chief Ethics Officer to Chief Happiness Officer

Having already reported her findings on the links between business ethics and employee satisfaction, Dr. Bettina Palazzo now invites CCOs to become CHOs.

by Dr. Bettina Palazzo 3 min

    As I already explained in my last blog post: Business ethics makes people happy!

    The arguments for this are quite clear: No one is happy and satisfied to work in a corrupt environment and most people simply feel better and happier if they also have the feeling of doing something meaningful at work and being in harmony with their personal values.

    Theoretically plausible and simple – in practice, however, it is not always so easy.

    Shifting to a happy compliance mindset

    Consequently, the big question today is:

    What can compliance do to be perceived and appreciated not as an unpleasant obligation, but as a source of happiness at work?

    As always, this has a lot to do with self-awareness and communication.

    Compliance professionals often suffer a kind of resigned acceptance with their “buzzkill” status and role as overseer. In some ways, that is inevitable, and it is inherent in the role of compliance. After all, it can be challenging to leverage people’s intrinsic motivation to partake in compliance but it is of course rewarding in the long run. It is kind of like parenting a rebellious teenager.

    As a mom of teenagers, I can tell you, it is incredibly stressful and not always fun! Nevertheless, you cannot let it spoil the fun! The first crucial step is to stay positive and optimistic and have a motivating vision.

    In compliance, you worry about potential risks, misconduct, and rule-following. This focus can only too easily result in a negative view of things that is too one-sided. If you look for problems, you usually find more. But to communicate compliance as a happiness factor in the company, you need a positive basic attitude.

    Embracing positivity to become the CHO

    Therefore, my first tip on your way to becoming a Chief Happiness Officer is to consciously look for what is already working well for you and to develop a motivating vision for the future:

    • What is working well? Why?
    • Where are we leading/innovating in compliance?
    • What have been our greatest successes?
    • It’s 20XX and we have become successful beyond our wildest dreams. How has our company changed? How have we been able to do this?


    When I walk my clients through these questions from the “Appreciative Inquiry” method box, they are usually quite surprised and excited to see all the great things they have already accomplished for their company.
    With such a positive self-image, you can then show up in a completely different way in the company and clearly communicate the value of your work and the contribution to everyone’s happiness at work.

    The ultimate guide: optimising compliance risk assessment

    Utilising an integrated compliance solution offers a fundamental advantage in obtaining in-depth insights.

    Download now
    Dr Bettina Palazzo
    Dr Bettina Palazzo

    Dr Bettina Palazzo is convinced that unethical companies make people unhappy. That’s why she has spent 25 years working tirelessly to make business ethics a topic that is attractive to everyone. She helps companies and non-profit organisations advance the ethical skills of their managers.