We can all agree that happiness is good for us, at work and in our lives away from the 9 to 5. But do we need a week dedicated to it? Plus: is advice on how to make a good CV somewhat redundant?
HR professionals should cast their worries aside. Forget the cost of living crisis, any concerns about the radical Budget and prospect of workers’ rights being binned, for it is still International Week of Happiness at Work, which began on 19 September. You may also remember 19 September as being the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. An inauspicious start one might say, but it could be argued that it’s “international” happiness week, and many other countries historically have equated losing monarchs with happiness.
Still, admirably undeterred by this accident of timing, Attar Naderi, associate director Europe at software developer Laserfiche, explains that “when fostered at work by business leaders, employee happiness pays off tenfold through greater productivity, retention, and even reputation.” Indisputable.
He adds that International Week of Happiness at Work is a key first step to recognising happiness as a priority for organisations. Naderi says: “Happiness requires year-round nurture, not only through culture changes such as flexible hours and employee recognition programs, but also the gradual implementation of occupational improvements like automated admin processes and structured document management.
A lighthearted take on HR
“By removing needless procedure and complexity, staff enjoy the time and freedom to work on more impactful, fulfilling tasks – ensuring that happiness at work lasts far longer than just one week.” He may well be right, but the more cynical may wonder whether Laserfiche feels its products not only improve efficiency but have something of a commercial interest in making the world a happier place…
Is the curriculum vitae as redundant as Latin itself?
Talking of automated systems, as AI takes over legacy manual processes and worries proliferate over in-built algorithm bias, it’s refreshing to receive advice on how to put together a good old CV. According to research by learning platform Preply, a number of words are overused by job applicants causing recruiters’ eyes to glaze over and AI to sound the warning klaxon. “Skilled” is the most overused word by job hunters on their CVs, featuring in over 2,183,414 resumés in the UK in the past six months. And, strangely, “Experienced” is the most commonly misspelled word on CVs (i before e except after c, remember, kids), followed by “successful” and “counselled”.
Sage advice offered by Preply includes not to use “I did this, I did that” all the time. It suggests “I lectured every week to a cohort” should become “Lectured weekly to a 30-strong student cohort”. At Personnel Today, any suggestion of false modesty raises eyebrows. We prefer the technique of gloating about achievements – “I successfully completed the egg and spoon race”, “I surpassed all expectations of what the concept of salesperson entails in my previous role.”
But ultimately we are back to talking about the use of words, much of which is subjective, rather like office buzz words. Surely it’s not necessary to be an accomplished wordsmith when applying for most jobs?
Preply notes that a high proportion of job hunters have promoted their “good sense of humour” on their CV – bringing to mind a classic The Apprentice encounter from years ago: “I’ve got a great sense of humour” says candidate. Recruiter: “Well I’m not finding you very funny.”
Unfortunately, many applicants apparently spell “curriculum vitae” incorrectly, but then Latin isn’t taught much in UK schools these days. You can always Google it though.
Perhaps it’s best to stick to simple “CV” as your heading. It’s important to get off to a good start when promoting yourself, just as it is for an international happiness week to avoid the Queen’s funeral for a launch date.