What is a CPO?


What is a CPO?

What is a Chief People Officer?

A Chief People Officer is much more than a fancy or fluffed-up title – it represents a huge shift in the way we look at the human capital within in our organization.  The CPO is a strategist, with the highest level of competency and skill when it comes to understanding human beings.  At their core, the Chief People Officer creates strategic alignment between the organizations goals and the people who implement them.  They understand that people are at the center of everything, and having high EPO (employee performance optimization) creates a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace.  They realize that attracting and keeping the best available talent creates a winning culture.  Having a highly effective CPO creates amazing synergy within a company.  Ideally, they should report directly to the CEO, and be free to implement new people-based programs and help create a learning organization.

The Role of a CPO

The role of the Chief People Officer is as important (if not more) than every other C-Suite position.

Here are just some of the functions of the CPO:

  • EPO – Employee Performance Optimization
  • Organizational Development and Design
  • Build the Culture
  • Attain the Very Best Talent
  • Create and Implement Learning Programs
  • Executive Coaching and Development
  • RTMM – Design Programs to Effectively Recruit, Train, Motivate and Maintain the Workforce
  • Manage Change
  • Create ROI with Investing in Employees
  • Lead Strategist When It Comes to People-Programs
  • Create a Sustainable Employee Training Program
  • Create a Learning Organization

Characteristics of a Superstar CPO

Given the importance and impact of the Chief People Officer Role, there are very unique traits that one must possess to effectively achieve their key objectives:


One of the biggest concerns of the workforce today is that the HR department has the employees best interest in mind.  To accomplish this, the CPO must create a culture of openness and trust, where each employee feels their voice can be heard without judgement or blame.

Business Acumen

It’s great to be good with people, and the CPO should definitely have that talent – but the alignment of human talent in the workplace is where this role really shines.  Therefore, a great CPO must know the impact people have on business systems, processes, departments, and various functions within a company.

Emotional Intelligence

At XQ, we feel that emotional intelligence is at the heart of human performance.  If a CPO wants to teach EQ, they must first be a student of EQ.


Behind every successful initiative is a strong, end-to-end strategy.  People still implement all of our corporate strategy – therefore, the CPO must know how each person can maximize their gifts as it relates to the company’s overall vision.

Good with Change

If there is one guarantee in today’s business environment, it’s that everything changes, and it changes fast.  To that end, a CPO understands the different personalities in the workplace, and knows how to communicate change to them properly.  They also know how to implement change in the most effective way possible, with least amount of negative consequences.

Financial Acumen

A great CPO makes the connection between human performance and the company’s bottom line.  They should be able to substantiate any spending on various programs and the impact they will have on the P&L.


The CPO must be open to new ways of doing things.  Being able to consistently grow your talent pool, maintain your current team, and enhance performance requires new ways of thinking about old problems.  Being innovative is one of the job requirements of the Chief People Officer.


Find Out Your XQ Factor Now

At XQ Innovation our belief is that success in business is predictable. 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, and 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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