CPO in Senior Living

If You Don’t Have One, Do You Need One? Title of Chief People Officer Enters Senior Living

There’s a new focus on human capital within the Senior Living Industry. With a low unemployment rate plus the fierce competition for industry talent, focus has been placed on redesigning and improving company culture, employee engagement, employee experience, and employee retention. Enter the Chief People Officer (CPO).

What does a CPO do? Basically, everything having do with talent management especially employee retention.

  • Create an overall philosophy of how to achieve the best people management and performance
  • Manage the strategy and processes related to building and retaining an exceptional team of professionals
  • Develop a compensation strategy and framework that best match culture and competition
  • Expand the pool of talent available to operators
  • Create a career path for current employees
  • Explore avenues to make senior living a desirable career path for generations coming up the ranks
  • Build and evolve the organizational culture that makes people love being employed there
  • Build recruiting systems that attract and retain world-class talent who share values and vision

While the title of CPO is not exactly new, it’s gaining ground and is replacing titles within Human Resources.  An article found in Forbes, explains the reason for the CPO title lies in the term ‘Human Resources.’  That term makes employees sound like they are fruits that companies should squeeze every ounce of juice out of. That way of thinking about employees and work is outdated. These days, it’s not just about focusing on policies, reviews, hiring, and firing but has everything to do with employee engagement, employee experiences, and creating an environment where people are happy to go to work.

Recently Senior Housing News featured a story on two Senior Living companies that hired Chief People Officers in order to look for ways to expand their pool of qualified talent available to operators, exploring avenues to make senior living a desirable career path, and expand growth opportunities to current employees.

What does it take to be a successful CPO in Senior Living?  A number of in-demand qualities including:

Emotional Incalltoligence: Ability to be sensitive to other people’s emotions, strong interpersonal skills, compassion, and able to skillfully manage their emotions and those of others.

Business Acumen: Full understanding of the business strategies needed to move the company forward. Then, aligning people with that strategy.

Leadership Skills: Capacity to set and achieve challenging goals, take fast and decisive action when needed, and inspire others to perform at the highest level they can.

Talent Scout & Architect: Ability to attract and fill candidate pipeline with top talent, focus on diversity and inclusion, ability to build relationships, drive employee engagement, and promote career and talent development.

Culture Influencer: Convey shared values across employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, and the community. Reinforce the culture and shared values across the organization.

Technology Know-How:  Artificial Incalltoligence (AI) technologies offer significant opportunities to improve functions such as recruiting and talent acquisition, reporting, access policies and procedures, etc.

Senior living communities should view people as their greatest asset and therefore, must make them feel valued and appreciated. They also need to create a welcoming and rewarding place to work. This is where CPOs can make a difference. They can empower employees, recognize them, and promote people-centered activities such as hiring, training, and professional development to ensure these efforts support the company’s strategies, growth, and bottom line. Having a CPO just makes good business sense.



Julie Rupenski is the Founder, President & CEO of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since that time, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. Her specialties include filling C-Suite, Vice President, Regional, and Property Level positions.

Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry since she previously worked in operations for both Senior Housing and Senior Living. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact.

Julie earned her degree in Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and continues to cultivate her career through senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos.

Julie’s industry articles and interviews have been published in Provider Magazine, Argentum Quarterly, LeadingAge Magazine, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Assisted Living Association, Florida Senior Living Association, LeadingAge Florida, LeadingAge Indiana, Pennsylvania Health Care AssociationOregon Health Care Association, and Virginia Assisted Living Association.

Contact Julie Rupenski at jkrupenski@www.medbest.com / 727-526-1294.




MedBest is a national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire quality executive talent for all types of Senior Living Organizations and Communities across the US including: Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

For top talent or to find you next position, contact MedBest at info@www.medbest.com/ 727 526-1294.

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