During my time at NPR, I read this article from John Hollon of TLNT about the title of Chief People Officer and the main focus was on NPR’s new HR (People) head and former colleague of mine, Jeff Perkins.
Of Note: the reason I’m writing this article is my contract for NPR is up and I’m free to do whatever I want. If I wrote this article during my stay, it would have been review with NPR, so I waited until today.
In the article, there was debate if Chief People Officer is a legitimate title or a gimmick. The article made wonderful points on both sides and I wouldn’t have any qualms. In NPR’s case, you have to look into their HR history.
If you would ask me between 2005-07 about NPR human resources, I would say they were solid. They had budgets to go on conferences, job fairs, goodwill events, and others, plus their brand was very strong. What change for NPR human resources was in 2008. Most of it I can’t discuss, but part of it is the economy, and that’s where the mood of executives (and some employees) change and that is where HR is…a solid HR team with little to no budget.
One and a half years later, they ask me to come in to assist the recruiting team and build a social recruiting strategy. I agree to do the administrative work since HR was under staff at the time and really want to change the department, hence selecting the new VP and CPO in the first two months I was there. In the last two months, I was helping with their social recruiting strategy, but it couldn’t be finalize since there were a lot changes going around in HR. The only achievement I was there was the creation of the Linkedin account, although the base of their social recruiting strategy is there.
Of Note again: I posted my jobs and NPR events on my all-around account, @tracytran. I couldn’t do it on @tranrecruiting since I agreed to NPR to hire me as a full-time temp, hence the business was push aside for 4 months. Hence, you had to find my jobs through keywords or dedicated column on a third-party app NPR Jobs tweets with my name. I wish to start up an NPR Careers Twitter account, but there was not enough time for approval.
In my opinion, I thought Chief People Officer was a little cheesy at first, but realize a month later, National Public Radio change their brand to NPR because they want to be known for their multimedia entity, and likely the title change to Chief People Officer was one of those steps internally and externally.
Whither you department is called Human Resources, The People, Norris, Rikishi, or whatever you name your “HR” department, it’s the actions and results behind your title that counts. In my one month with Jeff Perkins at NPR, it looks like he is really changing the department for a new direction and for the better and wish the best of luck.
By the way, NPR is looking for a Director of Talent Acquisitions. This one is on me 🙂