Chief of Work: The C-Suite Hire You Didn’t Know You Needed
Welcome to the new world of work. Culture and balance have stepped into the limelight where salaries and titles have once stood. “Work-life” has been replaced by “work/life.” As Hari Ramanathan, chief strategy officer of Y&R Asia, put it, “People seek a holistic life: … values and purpose are as important as money; working for social good is an option; and they want to be part of ‘the next big thing.’”
Massive numbers of employees work remotely, in flexible positions, or as independent contractors. Goals and values have shifted for both job seekers and employers. Cultural fit reigns supreme in hiring decisions (and in job seekers’ criteria for accepting jobs).
Yeah, you know all this, but guess what? You and hundreds of other executives and owners frankly do not have the time and willpower to stay on top of this kind of stuff, given the thousands of other deliverables necessary to running a successful business.
That’s why we need a new position, one that aligns the changing workforce with the company. A position that focuses on employer branding, quality real estate, work-life integration, and other things that matter most to today’s employees. We need a chief of work.
The chief of work sits alongside other executives and plays an integral role in the growth, productivity, and sustainability of the company. The chief of work’s responsibilities extend beyond traditional HR and into areas throughout the company.
Give the chief of work a bagel and welcome them into the conference room; they’re going to change the way you work.
Bringing ‘Hologram Harry’ Into the Office
The organization, communication, and management that it takes to align traditional, onsite workforces with their remote counterparts can be daunting, but the chief of work finds the most efficient balance between full-time employees and independent contractors, between onsite staff and telecommuting workers. While the occasional workforce planning committee might be formed under the current umbrella of HR, the chief of work would make this balance a full-time priority.
Establishing communication habits, managing schedules, and seamlessly tying external employees with internal teams are the chief of work’s goals. The chief of work checks and double checks on every member of the team. That way, even Harry – who lives under a rock in Albany – is “present” at the product development meeting.
Mimicking the Googleplex
The Googleplex campus has a bowling alley and seven fitness centers.
Okay, not the most relatable example, but you get what I mean.
The location, the standing desks, the green-certified windows, the recycling system, the juice bar – all these things influence current and future employees. Real estate – and what’s inside that real estate – matters to talent today.
The chief of work not only has the resources, but also has the time to find the best place for the company to plant its feet. A strong employer brand is the chief of work’s most important concern. As they tour the commercial real estate in Midtown, standing in the middle of an organic neighborhood garden, the chief of work has one thing on their mind: Is this the right place for our company and our employees?
Driving Baby Koko to Soccer Practice
Work-life balance continues to be a top value and priority for employees.
Well, duh – why wouldn’t it be? It only makes sense to want both a job you enjoy and the ability take Koko to soccer practice.
Thirty-seven percent of women and 26 percent of men say workplace flexibility is an important employer attribute.
The chief of work is responsible for putting the necessary processes in place to help employees balance work with life outside of the office. The chief of work sets up a nursing station in the women’s bathroom. The chief of work monitors work-from-home days and helps employees set up home gyms.
The chief of work keeps the soft and intangible things – like culture, alignment, and branding – as top priorities. In that way, the chief of work ensures company stability, employee happiness, and organizational success.
What does the chief of work look like at your workplace?
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