Business leaders and HR professionals must face a harsh reality. The nature of employee relations is changing. According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, 67% of workers surveyed are “not engaged” and another 18% of respondents are “actively disengaged” at the workplace. This could indicate that employees are crying for help, and the traditional response from HR is just not cutting it. For example, many HR professionals look to catered lunches, bean bag chairs, and other employee perks to improve company culture and engagement, but these solutions fail to address the root cause of disengagement: lack of training and development, poor alignment of talent, and command-and-control management techniques.

Coupled with the idea that complaints will be met with apathy or inaction, employees may start to feel overworked and underappreciated. To combat the negative effects of this relational cycle, every company needs to hire or promote a Chief People Officer (CPO). This blog outlines what a Chief People Officer is, and why the position is becoming a pivotal hiring choice for achieving happy employees and overall company success.

What is a Chief People Officer?


A Chief People Officer (CPO) is a Human Resources (HR) professional focused on developing employee-centric solutions to increase employee engagement, job satisfaction, profitability, and productivity. This modern approach to the more traditional Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) role has increased in popularity recently, as executives seek leaders with both people skills and business acumen to support company culture and solve people-based challenges. While the CPO role is responsible for facilitiating strong employee-HR relationships, CPOs also serve as executive leaders by providing executive coaching and development, and assisting with the company’s overall corporate strategy. A savvy CPO is a people-first problem-solver who navigates several challenges within the organization.

What Does Company Culture Have to Do With It?


Those who believe company culture is built on bean bag chairs and beer are mistaken. These quick fixes overlook the fact that company culture impacts everything from employee engagement and retention to productivity and profitability. 9 out of 10 executives (85%) rated engagement as a very important issue in their organization, yet the traditional HR approach does little to increase engagement and build culture. According to a 2017 Betterteam poll, half of the respondents said they won’t work for a company with a bad reputation. Additionally, research from the University of Warwick found happy employees are approximately 12% more productive than unhappy employees. These are signals to smart business leaders to take control of company culture and find effective ways to engage employees, improve job satisfaction, and attract and retain top talent. Company culture encompasses all of these challenges and is crucial for the long-term health of every organization.


Smart HR Leaders are Turning to the CPO Model


Hiring a Chief People Officer (CPO) has become an increasingly popular method for transforming the employee-HR relationship. For companies like, Ivy Exec, and Group Nine Media, the results are clear.

Unlike a traditional HR department, a CPO’s focus shifts from protecting legal and procedural interests to enhancing employee satisfaction as a key goal. The benefits of such an approach can transform the entire business.

Improving employee relations is crucial for productivity, profitability and organizational well-being. The CPO model is an effective solution to combat these challenges and enhance all aspects of the company.


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XQ Innovation improves human performance at work through individual and team self-awareness, behavior training and executive coaching. Our mission is to help organizations of all sizes turn every employee into a star performer. We view every human being in your organization as a human treasure. We unlock the science of the human mind in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. We bring unique strategies to our clients, all through the lens of innovation. Everything we do is focused around the people in your organization.

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