Every leader in a company is focused on either generating revenues, growing revenues, getting users, or saving costs. So there are CXO roles like the CEO, CPO, CMO, CTO, CIO, and then the CFO who is supporting the CEO in saving costs and making sure that the company is getting good returns on their investments.
Importance of productivity in the workplace
There is a common perception that 20% of the people do 80% of the work in organizations and this proves to be more accurate as the number of people grows. Because as your organization grows larger, the harder it becomes to manage employees and teams. You need a skilled workforce and teams to build a great company. But at the same time, people add to the complexity in management.
70-80% of expenses in most businesses go towards employee costs, including salaries, benefits, training, and so on. At the same time, there is a lot of outside capital available to fund high-growth businesses. So the subject of productivity becomes very important, especially when everyone is looking for a greater payout on the money invested.
Now, most companies fail. And a big reason for failing is that they run out of financial resources before they achieve product-market fit i.e. a perfect combination of customer demand, ability to build great products, and continuously be able to raise money from external investors. In order to put structure to the chaos, a Chief Productivity Officer’s role becomes more important.
If you want to increase productivity in your organization and want to know how to, check out our post on 20 ways to increase productivity in your business.
A chief productivity officer or the CPO plays the role
- of a CFO, as it is always about measuring productivity in terms of cost savings or revenue generated
- by HR because the idea is to improve employee productivity and reduce employee costs. There is also the need to take care of the mental health and wellbeing of employees.
- The role also includes that of a CTO as it requires taking care of hardware and software requirements to increase the productivity of an organization as a whole.
We can define the role of a Chief Productivity Officer into 3 buckets.
Save money for the company
A Chief Productivity Officer is a new role in any organization. So to start out, they should identify ways in which the company can save on costs. Although that would justify the cost of hiring an additional management executive in the company, a bigger reason is that money is a valuable resource for every company. The lower the costs, the greater the margins in the business. And the greater the margins, the greater the scope for expanding the company exponentially.
We are in a situation where there are hundreds of startups trying to take over an industry, with a limited amount of money whether it’s the founder’s own money or funding from venture capitalists.
So, how do you save money for the company? The answer is to have a mix of people, software, and tools to complete tasks. There’s no shortage of tools that can boost your company’s productivity. For example, the CPO may decide that instead of having a team of 5 people in the marketing team, have only 3 members and introduce software that can take the place of 2 marketing team members, saving costs to the company.
There needs to be a balance between people and software as people are more creative whereas software is more routine.
Time is equal to money. With cutthroat competition in every industry, it is important for companies to act with speed. Whether it’s the speed in bringing in products to the market, in customer service, or in delivering goods at speed.
A CPO needs to identify and evaluate the efficiency of every tool. So a CPO needs to look at not only different tools but also processes and even ideate on new technologies which can speed up things.
Make life easier for everyone in the company
Employees are the biggest assets in any company. So you want to keep them happy, always. A CPO’s job is to make life easier for everyone by bringing in tools. This becomes more critical at a time when we are talking about the mental health and wellbeing of employees, it becomes necessary to provide them with the right tools so that they could work smart.
We are currently in a situation where people are working from their homes. There is plenty of tech tools available to automate a lot of the routine tasks whether it’s digital marketing, accounting, customer service, and even sales.
Companies have been looking at data for ages. But the role of a CPO is to look at data that is in front of them and come up with insights to things like what tasks are eating the most time for your employees and what you can do to improve their productivity. By measuring key analytics you can measure anything from how long it takes to respond to a customer inquiry to how employees spend their days.
Once you have this data you can create and launch an automated system that can handle tasks ranging from service desk requests to contract reviews to scheduling meetings.
What to look for when hiring a CPO?
Obviously strong technical skills are a must, you should also look for:
- Strong communication skills including verbal, non-verbal cues, written skills, and the ability to listen.
- Strong experience working with different kinds of organizations and cultures.
- Ability to do research and interpret data in a clear and concise way
- The ability to handle and resolve problems.
- Familiar with various software and hardware which can help businesses scale
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