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The Evolving Role Of The Chief People Officer

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced innumerable changes to why we work, when we work, how we work and where we work. When businesses in every industry were forced to change the way they operated, the roles of employees within those organizations were forced to change as well. One of the roles that has seen the most evolution over the past three years is the role of the Chief People Officer or CPO.

As the name suggests, the CPO (also called the Chief Human Resources Officer or CHRO) is a C-level executive position whose main focus has traditionally been to create and oversee an organization’s talent acquisition, talent management and talent retention strategies. These strategies shape the way companies hire, fire, recruit, develop, organize, pay, supervise and evaluate employees.

Now that the dust is starting to settle after the upheaval of the pandemic, we’re seeing that CPOs are being tasked with taking on newer, different and/or expanded responsibilities. In addition to their primary job requirements, CPOs are now being asked to function as Chief Wellness Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, Chief Work Model Officers and Chief Motivation Officers.

In this article, we’ll look at these evolving roles and why they’re not only crucial to an organization’s overall talent management strategies, but why they’re also necessary for the health and profitability of the organization overall.

Chief Wellness Officer

Last year, Gallup published an article that explored what they found to be the five elements of well-being that characterize a thriving life: Career, Social, Financial, Physical and Community. They found that those who only reported physical well-being missed 68% more work each year for health-related problems, were three times more likely to file for worker’s comp, were five times more likely to look for new jobs within the next year and were two times more likely to actually change jobs.

Prioritizing worker wellness in all five areas can help to substantially mitigate these costs. Pragmatically speaking, investing in employee wellness can produce measurable return on investment (ROI) in terms of reduced costs and increased profits, but it can also produce substantial value on investment (VOI), including benefits such as higher employee morale, higher employee job satisfaction and better employee engagement.

Chief Diversity Officer

As far back as 2015, McKinsey & Company penned a study that showed higher-than-average financial returns for companies who were the most racially and ethnically diverse. In addition to higher profits, those businesses who ranked in the top DEI quartile, also experienced an advantage in talent acquisition, increased employee satisfaction, better alignment with their customer base and improved corporate decision making and innovation.

Corporations that are identified as more diverse are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors according to recent diversity in the workplace statistics. Additionally, diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets, and diverse teams are 87 percent better at making decisions. There is also research to suggest that inclusive organizations have an easier time attracting talent across all demographics.

Chief Work Model Officer 

The seismic shifts in how and where we work may prove to be the most enduring legacy of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a Future Forum Pulse survey, remote workers feel two times better about their work-life balance and 2.4 times better about their work-related stress. This is especially true for working mothers, people of color and other marginalized employees.

While the benefits to workers are well known, the benefits of flexible work models extend to employers as well. In an article about remote work on TheStreet, Dave Rietsema, Founder and CEO of, a leading Human Resources software company, estimates that, “Companies can save up to $11,000 per employee in terms of overhead costs if they switch to remote work.” Imagine the difference this could make for your company’s profit margins.

Chief Motivation Officer

In April of 2021, McKinsey & Company found that almost two thirds of employees in the U.S. said that the pandemic made them reflect on their purpose in life, and half of those workers said that the pandemic had caused them to rethink the kind of work that they did. Millennials were three times more likely than workers of other generations to report that they were reevaluating what they did for work.

If an employee doesn’t feel that their job is meaningful in some way, they will be disengaged and more likely to quit. A report by the Brookings Institution found that people who found purpose and meaningfulness in their jobs were more likely to seek out training that would improve their skills, more likely to delay their retirements, more likely to work harder at their jobs and less likely to call in sick.

The CPO Of The Future

In 2020, Willis Towers Watson did a study of over 500 executives. Almost all of the executives that were interviewed said that they believed that CPOs of the future will need different skill sets and experiences from what they currently possess. However, only 35% of executives thought that future CPOs were getting the training and development that they needed.

That’s where we come in.

If you’re a CPO, or you’re looking to hire a CPO, all of these changes can sound overwhelming, which is understandable. These new and changing roles far exceed the scope of the traditional roles of a CPO or CHRO. At Mythos Group, we’re a team of highly qualified independent consultants that understand the changing elements, functions and responsibilities of post-pandemic human capital management. Whether you need support for your CPO or you’re looking for a consultant to act as your CPO, we can help.