CPO in Senior Living

Florida Senior Living Association Features MedBest Article “Chief People Officer” in July Newsletter

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 the unemployment rate the lowest we’ve seen in 50 years and facing 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.
  • 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 That way of thinking about employees and work is outdated.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.

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