The COO job description features an executive whose role includes managing the daily activities of an organization. Ensuring the efficiency of operations and compliance with legal and other standards is a major goal of the chief operating officer. Specific aspects of the job depend on the organization, its goals, and mission.
Chief Operating Officer Job Overview: What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?
An organization’s daily operations consist of manufacturing, production, sales, and personnel matters. The essence of the chief operating officer job description is the oversight by this executive of these functions. In fact, to perform them, the chief operating officer summons the ability to lead, communicate and handle problems.
Chief Operating Officer Marketing Director Job Duties
- Develop annually an operating plan in keeping with the company or organization’s goals and, in consultation with, the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Finance Officer.
- Administer the daily operations of the company or organization, including human resources, manufacturing, logistics and sales.
- Oversee the creation and implementation of occupational health and safety standards within the workplace.
- Manage the organization’s compliance with applicable health and safety laws, regulations and standards.
- Ensure the accurate and complete keeping of accidents, injuries, illnesses and other work-related incidents.
- Address and also solve problems related to the adequacy of staffing, equipment, facilities or space, materials, supplies, and systems.
- Advising and evaluating department heads and managers on performance, compliance with goals.
- Meet with various teams in the organization.
- Reporting matters such as compliance with goals and workplace incidents with the Chief Executive Officer or the Board of Directors.
COO Job Essential Skills
Leadership. The COO job description entails the executive’s ability to formulate strategies and plans and to guide subordinates in accomplishing them. Leadership skills involve managing teams, delegating tasks, selecting managers or other team members and evaluating performance.
Time-Management. The chief operating officer must oversee multiple projects and perform many tasks of their own simultaneously. Exercising time-management skills involves planning, anticipating deadlines and also delegating work.
Communication. These skills include the ability to clearly and accurately report to Boards of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer and other executives in the company. Additionally, COOs must be able to convey instructions or strategies to managers under their supervision. On occasions, the COO may be interviewed by members of the media.
Decision-Making. As one of the top executives, the COO must be able to evaluate and decide on what plans to follow, how to execute the plans, and the employees performing the operations.
Problem-Solving. Within the COO job description lies the necessity to react to and remedy problems, emergencies and unforeseen events. For instance, the chief operating officer must respond to production shutdowns or injuries at facilities. Solutions are also necessary when production or other operations run over budget.
Becoming a Chief Operating Officer Professional
A typical chief operating officer job description includes requirements of extensive managerial or supervisory experience and a college education. Moreover, through experience, education, and training where offered, future chief operating officers obtain knowledge and skills necessary to carry out the COO duties. For a complete overview of the field, we suggest also reading the CEO job description.
Qualifications and Training
Typically, chief operating officers hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in a field related to their industry of work. For instance, a health care company might prefer candidates with degrees in health-related sciences, while in a manufacturing firm, an engineering background may be needed.
Moreover, in some companies, aspiring chief operating officers can receive training from executive development programs or management training.
Companies who hire chief operating officers normally seek candidates with several years of experience in managerial or supervisory roles. Often, the COO job description calls for aspiring chief operating officers to have spent time as human resources or production managers or similar roles.
Depending on the company, the COO should have experience in the company or organization’s industry or area of concentration. For instance, a medical services company might prefer applicants who previously worked in hospitals, medical offices or medical services companies.
In some companies, experience may substitute for a college education to qualify as COOs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites as examples organizations in the retail trade or transportation. However, other organizations may prefer to hire those who have already been chief operating officers or have held similar positions in other organizations.
Chief operating officers work full-time. As of 2014, approximately one in two top executives log more than 40 hours a week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The COO job description also includes travel to work sites, conferences, meetings and other company-related events. COOs may give interviews to media or may appear on business or news programs. As a result of these duties and activities, along with daily activities, COOs often work late evenings and weekends.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of top executives should rise by approximately six percent through 2024. This is considered similar to job growth throughout all employment sectors.
Employment prospects for chief operating officers will depend significantly upon the development of new firms and the size of companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a slowing of the rate of new firms due to concerns by recent graduates or younger people over the risks of opening businesses. () As a result, larger or more established companies tend to conduct much of the business. Moreover, in certain firms, especially smaller ones, a single executive may perform the chief executive officer and chief operating officer functions. This may slow the growth of COO employment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten percent earners have a salary of over $187,200. The median salary for top executives is $102,690. Pay varies by organization, with COOs in larger companies perhaps making over $1 million and having benefits such as pensions and bonuses.
To conclude, chief operating officers must ensure that their organizations function smoothly and efficiently. To perform their duties, these executives must develop strategies, communicate them to other managers and employees and assess whether and how they are accomplished. Generally, they rely on communication, leadership and problem-solving skills to keep their organizations running. In large companies, these top executives can earn close to or in excess of six figures and enjoy other benefits.