live online course


Michael Evans
January 12 
– February 18 
Scroll down

1/12/2021 - 2/18/2021
Advancing to Chief People Officer is about transforming from manager to strategic partner. It’s a role with the potential to be at the head of change within an organization — and it will push you to your limits. Learn what it takes to be a successful CPO from Michael Evans, Senior Principal at Korn Ferry with 20+ years in people management.

Professional Fast Track

This hands-on course will challenge you to dig deep into the questions that CPOs tackle daily. What kind of company culture do you want to establish and maintain? How can you refine your performance management style and influence the management approaches of roles below you? You’ll consider these and other critical questions through practical assignments, discussions, and lectures drawing on Michael’s over 20 years of experience in people management.

Relevant and Real-World

Now more than ever, human resources plays a critical role in corporate success. Today’s CPO needs to be able to engage the CEO and other key stakeholders as allies, and this course will equip you to do that. You’ll learn about key trends in business and HR that are transforming top companies and how you can lead that change as a future CPO. Instructor Michael Evans will help you transform your professional value prop to lead as a strategic partner in your organization.

Through critical reflection, you’ll hone your understanding of the methodologies used as levers of strategic HR leadership and company culture. Each unit, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in test scenarios for deeper learning.
Prep for
the Real-World
Each unit combines theory with real-world application. See how superstar CPOs have transformed their organizations in case studies throughout the course. You’ll use what you learn to develop a clear vision of how you would lead an organization’s people strategy.
This is an interactive course that will challenge you to refine your leadership approaches as you engage with your fellow students and with Michael. You’ll also get direct input on all of your assignments from Michael.
  • HR manager and innovator with 12+ years experience on 5 continents
  • Sought-after public speaker on topics like trends in leadership development, assessing for behavior, and leading cultural change
  • Senior Principal at Korn Ferry, international management consulting firm with offices in 54 countries
  • Led development of behavioral competencies, succession planning frameworks, and leadership development programs for companies including Coca-cola, Nestlé, and a major Czech bank
  • Expert advisor in key HR topics including talent management, executive assessment and coaching, leadership development, organizational design, engagement survey design,and delivery, action planning, and psychometric testing
Tue 1/12 4 PM ET
The role of a CPO and your personal vision

The role of a CPO is the ultimate generalist role. You need to be reasonably knowledgeable about all HR related topics and processes. At the same time you have to understand the business. And finally, you have to know when to accommodate and when to push back hard. In this lesson we’ll focus on a general idea of what it means to be a CPO, and how your career vision matches with the job requirements.

  • Understand where the HR function fits into organizations (Global level, Local level: headquarters vs. subsidiary issues)
  • Company structure vs. HR structure
  • Changing role of HR in modern organizations
  • Key aspects of what makes a great CPO or HR leader

Assignment #1

My career vision: what role do I want, and what kind of company do I want to work for?

Thu 1/14 4 PM ET
Establishing and maintaining company culture

In this lesson, we will talk about company culture, how to establish or change it, what are the key elements of culture, and why it is important. Company culture needs to be rooted in the strategy of the company. Although some company cultures are clearly toxic, and others are what we generally imagine to be favorable, each company has its own and there is little in terms of right and wrong. At the end of the day, the goal is to create a culture that will support the business goals of the organization, and this is one of the main, overriding goals of the CPO: align the culture with the strategy.

  • What is company culture and why is it important: elements of culture, impact on results (business case for cultural work)
  • Example of culture that is linked to the strategy (and one that is not)
  • Key levers that can be used to establish or change culture
  • Example of culture change/maintenance initiative

Assignment #2

You will pitch to the CEO that something should be done about the company culture in the company brief you will receive or you can use your current company if you prefer. Your pitch should be a few slides that answer the following questions:

  • Describe the current culture and what the problem is with it?
  • What will happen if we do something/nothing?
  • What are the key obstacles to overcome?
  • What is the exact call to action for the CEO and his/her board?
Tue 1/19 4 PM ET
Operating model and

In this lesson, we will look at various types of organizations, their operating models, and discuss the pros and cons of each. We will explore what an operating model actually is, see some different approaches to operating model design and, and follow a test case through from operating model design to organizational design. We will explore the pros and cons of different types of traditional hierarchies and we will also look at agile at scale: how companies are in some cases doing away with traditional hierarchies and organizing their businesses according to agile principles.

  • Operating model definition and examples
  • The organizational triangle: HQ, Subsidiary, Shared Service
  • Inter accountabilities
  • Traditional organizations (Span and gap analysis, Flat vs. steep hierarchies)
  • Agile at scale

Assignment #3

Based on the lesson and the assigned readings, write cca 500 words on the pros and cons of traditional vs. flat and/or agile structures.

Thu 1/21 4 PM ET
Work measurement and total reward

In this lesson, we will look at the specifics around measuring work (job evaluation), several different approaches and the pros and cons of each. We will then move on to how pay is benchmarked based on the job size or people (traditional vs. alternative approach). Finally, we will pull back and look at remuneration more broadly. This means in addition to pay and benefits, we’ll also look at the Employer Value Proposition (EVP), or Employer Brand Promise. This all comes together in what we’ll call the Total Reward Framework. The goal is to help you understand the technical aspects of pay benchmarking, but at the same time understand that remuneration goes well beyond pay and benefits.

  • Job evaluation (traditional work measurement)
  • Job model frameworks (simplified work measurement)
  • Pay benchmarking and analysis
  • Personal grades vs. role grades
  • Pay and benefits as a motivator (or not?)
  • Total reward framework including EVP or ‘employer brand promise’

Assignment #4

Review the pay benchmarking chart provided. What works well, what needs to be improved? What is likely going on in this example? What is your suggested solution (if any)? Support your conclusions with analysis and with qualitative arguments based on what we have learned so far. You should also create a communication strategy in line with your recommendations. Your solution can be a technical solution or a qualitative solution but be sure to substantiate why you have chosen your course of action (and not other possible courses of action).

Tue 1/26 4 PM ET
Performance management

In this lesson, we will take an in-depth look at performance management models and methodologies. We will start with the criteria that are typically used to measure performance and the systems that modern organizations use to manage performance outcomes. We’ll circle back to last week’s discussion on pay, addressing variable pay in the context of performance management and company-wide results. We’ll also look at what is new in performance management, specifically in light of the rise of agile methodology today.

  • Technical competencies (with examples)
  • Behavioral competencies (with examples)
  • Traditional approaches to performance management (9 box grid, Forced distribution, Role of managers and HR)
  • Bonus payments
  • Trends in performance management (Agile approach, Feedback culture)

Assignment #5

You will create a pitch for a revamp of the performance management and bonus payout system for an organization that has moved significantly towards agile at scale. Create a few slides to present to the CEO outlining your reasoning for the change and a high-level implementation plan.

Thu 1/28 4 PM ET
Talent management

This week, we will explore talent management, succession planning, and the challenges therein as well as the benefits of managing talent effectively. We start by defining talent management broadly and apply work measurement to talent management approaches. We will also look at assessment methodologies and how they are an essential element in your talent management strategy. The goal is to help you understand the link between succession planning and assessment, and how these activities can support the allocation of resources for development which will be the topic for lesson 7.

  • What is talent management?
  • Succession planning (using a job family framework)
  • Assessment methodologies: Psychometrics, Interviews, Simulations (role plays)

Assignment #6

You will support a performance management approach that is in line with your vision for the company you would like to work for, and the culture you want to create. This should be linked to your suggested end-to-end approach to talent management. How will your performance management system support the talent management goals you create? How does your approach to talent management align with the company culture you wish to create.

Tue 2/2 4 PM ET
Lab #1: Talent management 

This week, our first session will be an interactive one. This will allow you to share your ideas with the group around talent management. The goal is to test your ideas with your classmates, engage in discussion, challenge each other and thus refine your thinking. You will learn how to defend your ideas, adapt your thinking, collaborate with others, and ultimately to find solutions that are more workable and that have a better chance of being accepted by senior management. This process of testing, learning, adapting, and defending your approach will be essential to master if you aspire to a CPO role.

Thu 2/4 4 PM ET
Development programs

In this lesson, we will examine the area of HR that consumes the largest part of the HR budget after pay and benefits: development programs. We’ll look at traditional training, both from an internal and external perspective as well as leadership development programs. We’ll talk about the challenge of demonstrating the ROI of such programs and give you some arguments that can be used to promote training and development in organizations. Then, we will explore trends in approaches to T&D including eLearning, blended learning, and self-paced approaches. Finally, we’ll look at trends in leadership development and what that means for the approach to team building in the modern era. The goal is for you to understand why T&D is important and to get you up-to-date on the trends that are driving change in this part of the HR space.

  • Tradition training: Internal programs and training department structures, Using external suppliers (including assessing value), Training as a benefit (link to engagement)
  • Leadership development: Development tools, Self-directed change model, Traditional internal/external approaches
  • Trends in approach: eLearning, Blended learning, Self-paced learning
  • Leadership trends and team-building approaches: The modern leader, Building trust through vulnerability

Assignment #7

1. You will be given a training budget to be allocated across the company. It is your job to decide how this money will be allocated (skills training, leadership development, etc.). Support your allocation of resources with arguments as to why. Will you differentiate between different levels of the organization (Senior Management, Middle management, front line, sales, etc.)? Why or why not? Will you allocate more at the beginning, middle or end of people’s careers? Why or why not?


2. What would be your approach to developing hi-potentials? How would you identify them (criteria as well as process)? What would you focus on (hard skills, leadership, other soft skills etc.) and why?

Tue 2/9 4 PM ET
Employee engagement and culture review

In this lesson, we will focus on the key levers of employee engagement (i.e. what drives engagement) and what the benefits are of improving engagement levels. We will explore trends in employee engagement survey approaches. We will then look into a variety of action planning approaches and the pros and cons of each. Finally, we will look at data comparing the impact of engagement and cultural alignment on different key metrics.

  • Key levers of employee engagement
  • Trends in listening approach
  • Action planning
  • Engagement vs. culture

Assignment #8

Review and analyze the results of the engagement survey provided. What are the key issues the results point to? What is the likely root cause of these issues? Prepare a few slides with your analysis and hypothesis.

Thu 2/11 4 PM ET
Employee life cycle

In this lesson, we will take a high-level view of the complete employee life cycle. We start with recruitment and the link between recruitment and the employer brand promise or EVP. We then move on to onboarding and will look at some of the creative ways that employers are onboarding new employees (as well as the pros and cons of traditional approaches). We then look at retention which has a clear link to the total reward framework as well as culture and T&D. Next we will examine restructuring activities, how and when to communicate, and the key principles that should be followed during a restructure (and why). Finally, we will look at exit interviews and surveys and explain why they are important.

  • Recruitment and the link to the employer brand promise
  • Onboarding: traditional and new approaches
  • Retention: Total reward, Respect and Recognition, Training and Development
  • Restructuring: key principles
  • Exiting: Interviews, Surveys, How to leverage the data (and why to collect it in the first place)

Assignment #9

Building on your hypothesis from the last assignment, what would be your next steps to address the issues you have (you need to prioritize and give a rationale for why you’ve picked the three or maximum four issues you’ve prioritized. What parts of the employee life cycle would you target and why? If these were the results from the company that you picked in week one (either the one you envision yourself working in, or the company you work for) what would be your #1 priority based on these survey results? Why? (I’m looking for the link to culture here).

Tue 2/16 4 PM ET
Lab #2: Culture 

This week, we will have another interactive session, this time around company culture. You will work with the results of assignment #9 with your classmates. The objective is to narrow down your recommendations around driving engagement at the points in the employee life cycle where you expect to get the most impact out of the actions you recommend. It will be key to align your recommendations to the kind of culture you wish to create (or maintain). Again, you will be challenged by your classmates which will force you to refine, adapt, and defend your recommendations preparing you for real-life scenarios as a CPO.

Thu 2/18 4 PM ET
Develop an HR strategy

In this, the final lesson, we will be bringing all of your learning to date together into a comprehensive HR strategy. We will explore how HR processes and structure can be used to drive company culture, engagement, and ultimate business performance. We will explore different metrics that are used in HR management to measure the ROI of the initiatives that you, as a CPO, will initiate and drive.

  • How to create an HR strategy
  • Elements of an HR strategy
  • HR structure
  • Key metrics in HR

Assignment #10

In the final assignment, you should first review your cultural vision from the beginning of the course and make (and highlight) any changes that you would make to your vision and approach to achieving it in light of what you have learned. You will need to create an overall HR strategy which should include (in addition to your cultural vision) all of the subject matter from the course. You can use your previous assignments as content, but be sure to highlight changes you have made since first completing the assignments in light of the evolution of your thinking. Your deliverable should include the following elements:

  • Cultural vision
  • High-level organizational design principles
  • Total reward framework
  • Performance management principles
  • Talent management framework
  • Approach to listening (engagement surveys)
  • HR structure Metrics you will use to measure success
First name
This is required field!
Last name
This is required field!
This is required field!
This is required field!
By registering and clicking “APPLY”, you agree to our
Terms of Use, Privacy policy and Cookie Policy