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I Promoted My CMO to CPO. Here are 4 Unexpected Benefits That Came Out of It Why it might be a good idea to have a Chief People Officer with a marketing background.

By Artis Rozentals Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Promoting your CMO to CPO can be a strategic move that leverages their understanding of the bigger picture and customer focus, which can translate directly to employee experience.
  • In our case, the CMO-to-CPO experiment paid off in spades, boosting employee satisfaction by nearly 30% within just six months.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I have always advocated horizontal growth within a company. Whenever it seemed like a sound decision, I didn't hesitate to promote people or adjust their responsibilities to maximize their strengths or passions.

One particular case proved to be a distinct success story when I promoted our CMO to CPO.

Sintija started working at DeskTime three years earlier. She had a decade of marketing and copywriting experience, which made her ideal for the CMO role. Then, she revealed that someday, she'd like to work in human resources.

The note was taken.

Marketing mind for HR

This was a turbulent time for our team, which had doubled in a relatively short time. We didn't have a clear direction or distinct roles. And, on top of that, we struggled with low productivity.

Previously, our HR processes leaned heavily towards clerical tasks and documentation management, with an HR specialist primarily focused on recruitment and legal paperwork. But that wasn't enough — we needed a people officer who could elevate HR beyond mere administrative duties.

Sintija came with a vision of optimizing HR processes and changing group dynamics. She knew the business like the back of her hand, from market conditions to technical specifics, and could answer all new recruits' questions. Plus, she had the necessary people skills, like diplomacy, active listening, empathy and humor — things that would disarm even the toughest software developer.

For these reasons, I was sure that she would be the right person for the newly created CPO role. Besides that, four other benefits came from her taking this position — ones that I didn't expect. They were all linked to her marketing background, which she used to improve the company's HR processes.

Related: 6 Mindsets You Need to Adopt to Reach Your Marketing Goals

1. Leveraging marketing skills to attract top talent

Showcasing and selling ideas and products are key pillars of marketing. It turns out that these components are effective also when applied to human resources. Similar to marketing, the HR department needs to function like the face of the business.

When you have a marketing specialist working with talent acquisition, you kill two birds with one stone. This person knows how to attract new talent, how to "package" our company benefits, and where to distribute the job ads. In our case, we also benefit from Sintija's readiness to speak at public events, podcasts, etc., and be one of the company's faces.

2. Onboarding time cut by half

Just like customer churn in marketing, high employee turnover signifies dissatisfaction.

A seasoned marketing specialist understands that the first steps of encountering a product or service influence the churn rate. Onboarding is like the marketing funnel; the first 3 months are crucial for employee satisfaction. During these first months, new recruits should feel welcome and 100% onboarded.

Sintija put her marketing experience to use, and as a result, our organization has witnessed a boost in employee satisfaction and retention rates, which has been accompanied by a substantial reduction in turnover. Some of the adjustments in our onboarding process that have contributed to these positive outcomes include:

  • Comprehensive documentation (from software technicalities to parking arrangements),
  • Monthly check-ins to identify early concerns of new recruits,
  • Buddy system for personalized support,
  • Team introductions with communication styles (DiSC).

Given the rigorous and costly selection process our recruits undergo, it's in our best interest to ensure their satisfaction and catch any issues early on. By attending to seemingly minor details, we've managed to streamline our onboarding process, reducing its duration from six months to three and hoping to reduce it even more.

Related: 6 Secrets Behind Successful Employee Onboarding

3. Improved "employee-experience"

Another metric that plays a crucial role in a successful marketing funnel and in reducing churn rates is good user experience (UX). When approaching employees as "users" and their employment experience as user experience, we try to make their work experience as smooth and pleasant as possible instead of taking their work for granted.

Our revamped onboarding process exemplifies this shift. We've segmented it into manageable steps, starting with an informative email a week before their first workday. This phased approach prevents information overload, ensuring new hires feel supported and confident as they begin their journey with the company.

As employees acclimatize, they gain access to comprehensive documentation on our platform and company processes, empowering them to navigate their roles and company processes efficiently.

Finally, positioning business processes the right way matters a lot. Take, for instance, our approach to all-company gatherings. Inspired by Sintija's vision, we rebranded them as 'symposiums.' This 'rebranding' (coupled with the allure of wine and snacks) resulted in a much higher attendance and engagement rate compared to traditional meetings or sessions.

Related: Are You Guilty of Poor Onboarding? The Consequences Are Worse Than You Think.

4. New tools streamline HR processes

Marketing is usually more advanced than HR in terms of tech applications and automation. Sintija's marketing background let her see opportunities for automation and adoption of new tools, which save hours of everyone's time spent on manual labor.

For example, to improve the candidate experience, we've automated the recruitment process with regular drip emails. These emails keep candidates informed about their progress and upcoming steps, ensuring a smooth journey.

Despite being a data-driven company, we lacked comprehensive employee data to gauge team dynamics effectively. Sintija introduced Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS) surveys, providing insights into our employees' sentiments. This move eliminated guesswork, allowing us to make informed decisions based on collective feedback rather than isolated incidents.

Artis Rozentals

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of DeskTime

Artis Rozentals is the CEO of DeskTime, an automatic productivity monitoring platform. He's also an amateur athlete and a father of two.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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