Key Takeaways:

  • The role of Chief Culture Officer is still relatively new in the workplace, but its impact is far reaching.
  • Today, CCOs are instrumental in executing strategies relating to recruitment, onboarding, team-building, team member retention, and more.
  • If you need more convincing, here are three important reasons why every company should have a CCO.


In 2006, Google hired Stacy Sullivan as Chief Culture Officer, and the C-Suite was changed forever. Okay … that might be a bit dramatic, but bringing someone into the C-Suite whose sole duty was to keep a watchful eye on culture was revolutionary at the time. They were disruptors. They knew that not only was technology changing at the speed of light, but people were to.

Fast forward a decade and the role of Chief Culture Officer (CCO) is becoming a must-have in companies ranging from tech to banking —and everywhere in between. While hiring a CCO used to happen when companies were expecting a big change (like a merger or acquisition), the CCOs of today are integral in creating and executing strategies to ensure programs for recruitment, onboarding, team-building, retention and recognition are all following —and molding— company culture.

In short, they’re trying to figure out how to keep everyone happy and motivated. (Wow, what a unique concept!) Like I always say, technology can make everything more efficient, but it can't —and never will— replace happy people.

Need more convincing? Here are 3 reasons why every company should have a Chief Culture Officer:

#1. Your Financial Performance Will Like It

Researchers have found that culture change initiatives can lead to real financial returns, and that there is a strong relationship between constructive organizational cultures and financial performance. The study points out that it’s not a direct correlation, but that detailed analysis of retail store data indicated that constructive cultures translated into cooperation and teamwork, which promoted high quality service and, in turn, repeat business and better sales.

I think anyone can agree with that.

#2. Your Success Hinges on It  

Another report I found says that “culture matters, enormously.” It references studies that show time and time again that there may be no more critical source of business success or failure than a company’s culture. They say “it trumps strategy and leadership.”

What’s shocking? This is a report from 2011 — and we all know that culture has become increasingly more important in the 5+ years that have followed, if not exclusively because of the number of Gen-Yers (I don’t say the “M” word anymore), who place high-value on culture.

#3. Your Team Members Require It

We’ve talked about it before … Gen-Yers recently exceeded Gen-Xers as the largest demographic in the labor market, and their growing presence is reshaping everything we’ve come to understand about the workplace. Increasingly, team members desire a flexible work schedule and seek jobs that they think are inspiring and invigorating.

A Forbes article says “Millennials view the workplace through the same lens of new technology as any other aspect of their lives: instant, open and limitless.” Are you appealing to them with your culture?

More on this in my blog: 54 Million Workers Believe Technology Plays Second Fiddle: Here’s Why

Wrapping it Up

Whether you’re on the COO bandwagon or not —keep in mind that an effective COO needs to have the support of top management, but still needs to have boots on the ground to gain the trust and respect of team members that live, breathe and exponentially define a company’s true culture. It will serve companies to keep culture at the forefront of their organization, especially as the workforce —and everything we know about it— changes forever. This is a good thing. The more people feel involved and heard, the more everyone wins.