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Chief People Officer

Job Details

RKL Resources has been retained by a prestigious university located in Virginia to recruit for a Chief People Officer (CPO) role. This is a unique opportunity for an inspiring and transformative leader to serve as a CPO to oversee the entire employee lifecycle.

As CPO, you will be responsible for developing and implementing innovative strategies and serving as a strategic member of the leadership team. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, or their designee, the CPO oversees the entire employee lifecycle. The CPO will be responsible for developing and implementing resilient innovative strategies to build and retain an exceptional talent base.

The leader will build talent management processes while introducing forward-thinking programs that drive both accountability and retention. Compliance is integral to mitigating risk for the university, this leader will have strong knowledge and understanding of employment laws (federal and state) and be able to communicate and demonstrate the value of operating in a compliance-based system. The CPO will have a passion for using data to uncover insights and drive performance and a clear understanding of how data impacts people decisions across the university.

Direct reports include senior leads in recruitment, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance, employee relations, analytics and systems, benefits and compensation.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop an inspiring and clear people operations vision and communicate that vision across the university, ensuring the people team and leadership understands how their work contributes to the vision
  • Serve as a change partner and set the philosophy for how we approach people initiatives (e.g. talent acquisition, promotions, and compensation), getting buy-in from leaders and teams
  • Reinforce and amplify the University’s culture internally and externally through specific initiatives, programs, events and external press and speaking opportunities
  • Work with leaders to define and translate a culture that respects and empowers employees
  • Design and implement a stellar people experience, from initial application to hiring, onboarding, and throughout the employee lifecycle
  • Build new relationships and partnerships both within the organization and with external stakeholders
  • Drive innovation outside the confines of foundational people programs to impact the institution more broadly
  • Change risk-averse people cultures into ones that allow for fast piloting and fast failing


  • The ideal candidate will have more than 10-years of People Operations leadership experience in higher education or other large, complex, decentralized organizations and proven experience leading transformational organizational change.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required, a master’s degree is preferred.
  • 10-15+ years of People Operations experience, with 5-7 years of senior leadership experience.
  • A deep and demonstrable understanding of data and people analytics with the ability to cleanse data and turn data into insights and a compelling narrative to guide strategic people planning.
  • Experience working cross-functionally to understand the varying needs across the university and developing efficient, scalable processes and programs that satisfy their needs while supporting the overall strategy.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Solid interpersonal and conflict resolution skills.

Job Status: Open

Job Sectors: Higher Education

Job Type: Full TIme

Regions: Virginia

Location: Virginia

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