Developing a Learning Culture

Chief Culture Officer: Job Description, Salary & ROI

What is a Chief Culture Officer?

Let’s be honest: There are a lot of made-up job positions in the corporate world. After all, we’re talking about a subset of the population who coined the term “sandwich artist” for the guy who puts bacon on your sub. But while it’s relatively new in the C-suite (even newer than the CLO– created in 1991), don’t make the mistake of thinking that the title of chief culture officer is for looks alone. More organizations are realizing that culture isn’t just keeping employees happy, but making sure that everyone is on the same visionary page.

Not sure if you need a chief culture officer (CCO)? Check out why your organization can’t afford to go without.

Chief Culture Officer Job Description

Dedicating a corner officer to what might seem like a superfluous position isn’t everyone’s first choice, but understanding a CCO’s role is key to unlocking potential. When you hear “organizational culture,” it’s not just ping-pong in the break room; instead, it’s a method by which organizations can ensure that all departments align with the overall mission of the company. Here are just a few of the things for which a CCO is responsible.

  • Defines organizational goals and align departments effectively.
  • Acts as a liaison between employees and other C-level executives.
  • Sets the tone for communication.
  • Establishes an emotional connection for employees, execs, and the organization as whole.
  • Plans and carries out events for employees.

Take care to avoid mixing up a CCO’s responsibilities with those of a traditional HR rep. While a CCO might execute an employee retreat, it’s not the CCO’s responsibility to arrange for benefits, like vacation days, for employees. Instead, the CCO oversees whatever it takes to prove than an organization is a great place to work, thanks to communication, vision, teamwork, and yes, even some perks.

CCO Payoff: What is the Salary & ROI of Chief Culture Officers?

A small company might not see the need (or the budget line) for a dedicated CCO when starting out, but it’s becoming clearer that a CCO might be less a luxury and more an indicator of success. Take Netflix, for example: After a drastic change in work culture to include better communication and executive transparency for consumers, profitability exceeded 245 percent (after tanking hard in 2011). Read more about their strategy here. In terms of average salary, says that the average salary is roughly $86,000 per year, though we suspect that industry averages are a bit higher than that.

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Whether it’s a push for better communication, a dedication to customer service, or seamless interdepartmental workflow, a CCO is responsible for teaching employees what they are, what they sell, but most importantly: Why they sell

By forging that connection between pride, loyalty, and efficiency, it’s obvious that a chief culture officer is an investment for even small companies.

Sans CCO

So, what’s an organization to do when a CCO isn’t possible (yet)? The responsibility for setting the tone and ensuring employee pride should be equally shared among management positions. Proving that ideas are welcome, communication is key, and the organization cares deeply about employees should be a daily task, not a passing thought. Instead of waiting until a CCO is possible, starting today means you won’t be left in the wake of organizations who recognize the importance of an aligned, satisfied, and loyal workforce.

Chief Culture Officer Quiz

Not sure if you need a CCO? Check out why your organization can’t afford to go