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What is a CPO: Chief People Officer

Your company already has its executive leadership in place: a solid team comprised of a CEO, COO, and CFO. But, you also need to have a dedicated individual to facilitate a positive company relationship with your most important business resource: your employees.

That's where a Chief People Officer (CPO) comes in. And, while it sounds official, it may be more of an honorary title rather than an actual corporate executive position. After all, Human Resources is already tasked with the heavy lifting of personnel strategies, knowledge of regulations, recruitment initiatives, and employment relations.

Being a Chief People Officer is actually much more fun. And, while it can be an ancillary "title" for your existing HR Director, Office Manager or Customer Relations Manager, it can also be bestowed on anyone in your company who you feel has already shown passion and leadership concerning their fellow employees' well-being, as both a cheerleader and advocate.

What are CPO responsibilities?

So, what are the responsibilities of a CPO? Devise and oversee initiatives and programs that increase every employee's appreciation of the company by creating a work culture that values each person's contributions, and lets them know it. If that is handled correctly, employees remain content, motivated and productive so that your enterprise runs smoothly, and your business achieves its goals.

A CPO has many tools to let people know they are appreciated for extra effort, exhibiting leadership and offering new ideas. He or she might want to try a quarterly awards program run by department managers, or an Employee of the Month awards with a plaque featuring their photo and reason why. Or, perhaps, a surprise Employee Appreciation Day that let's everyone leave work an hour early. Organizing office holiday celebrations always helps build company esprit de corp, as do company-wide new birth/birthday recognitions accompanied by a employee birthday cards and flowers. And, everybody loves Donut Fridays.

Simple & Effective

There are simple, but effective ways to make the office itself a place where employees feel welcome, supported, and part of a corporate family in short, a place they look forward to coming to every day. A new coffeemaker or espresso machine is always a hit. And, don't forget to include a new corporate coffee mug for every employee.

Each of the above suggestions carries with it the opportunity to promote an idea or theme that can reinforce the values of your company. "Together We Can" or "Dare to Soar" are perfect examples of how a CPO can empower your employees by imparting a sense of purpose and direction that everyone will embrace.

Theme-emblazoned penholders, paperweights, photo frames, binders, folders, pad folios, even de-stressors like squeeze balls, can help build a cohesive team culture.

So, even though a Chief People Officer may be an honorary title, he or she can play a vital role in creating innovative, fun, motivational programs that build team culture, increase productivity, and maximize employee retention. If adding a CPO to your corporate executive structure sounds like a good idea, start your search for the best candidate right in your office or workplace. (Chances are you already have an idea of who it will be.)

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