A COO is an executive professional who manages the daily activities of a company.
The primary goal of a chief operating officer is to ensure efficient operations and compliance with legal and other regulations.
Specific aspects and tasks of a COO depend on the company, its mission, and its goals.
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What Does a COO Do
The day-to-day operations of an organization may include manufacturing, sales, production, and personnel matters.
The primary duty of a chief operating officer is to oversee these functions, summoning their leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Develop an annual operating plan according to the company’s goals and consulting with a CEO or CFO.
- Implement the daily operations of the company, including manufacturing, logistics, human resources, and sales.
- Oversee the development and implementation of workplace standards regarding occupational health and safety.
- Ensure the company operates in compliance with health and safety regulations, standards, and laws.
- Keeping accurate records of accidents, illnesses, injuries, and other work-related incidents.
- Resolve issues regarding equipment, adequacy of staffing, facilities, supplies, materials, and systems.
- Advise and evaluate the heads of departments and managers on compliance with goals and performance.
- Meet with various teams in the organization.
- Report such matters as workplace incidents and compliance with goals to the CEO or the Board of Directors.
A COO should have the executive ability to develop plans and strategies to guide the employees in accomplishing them.
With their leadership skills, a COO should manage teams, delegate tasks, select managers or other team members and evaluate their performance.
The COO should monitor many projects at a time as well as perform their own tasks at the same time.
They need efficient time-management skills to plan, meet deadlines, and delegate work.
COOs need to clearly and accurately report to the CEO, Board of Directors, and other executives.
Besides, they should convey instruction and strategies to managers and their teams.
Sometimes, they may have to communicate with media representatives in an interview.
With COOs being one of the top executives, they need to evaluate and decide on the direction of the plan, how to execute them and assess the operations’ performance of the employees.
COOs should react to and resolve issues, emergencies, and events quickly and efficiently.
For example, they should address the issues related to a production shutdown or workplace injuries.
They should also promptly come up with solutions when the issues in production or other operations related to the budgets arise.
How to Become a COO
Typically, COOs need a college education together with extensive supervisory and managerial experience.
Besides, a COO obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties through experience, education, and training where offered.
Training and Qualifications
Chief operating officers generally need a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in business administration or the area closely related to their industry.
For example, COOs in a healthcare company may hold a degree in health-related sciences, or those in manufacturing may need one in engineering.
Additionally, some companies train aspiring COOs through executive development programs or management training.
COOs are usually required to have several years of experience in managerial or supervisory positions.
Often, candidates may have experience in managerial roles in the production or human resources sector.
Depending on the employer, COOs may be required to have experience in the industry or area in which the company operates.
For example, those providing medical services consider applicants with experience in medical offices, hospitals, or medical service companies.
Some companies hire COOs with a college education as a substitute to experience.
As the BLS reports, such organizations operate in retail trade or transportation industries.
However, other companies prefer candidates with experience as a chief operating officer or in a similar position.
The position of a COO is full-time.
According to the BLS, in 2014, about one out of two top executives worked more than 40 hours a week.
COOs also have to travel frequently to work sites, meetings, conferences, and other company-related events.
They may also handle interviews with media representatives or appear in news or business programs.
Some of these activities and duties may require COOs to spend some time working on weekends or in the evenings.
According to the BLS, the employment rate of top executives should grow by 6% by 2024.
This is similar to the national average of other occupations.
The prospects depend considerably on the establishment of new companies as well as their size.
The BLS informs that the percentage of new firms decreases because recent graduates are concerned over the risks of opening new businesses.
Therefore, more business goes to large and established firms.
Besides, some smaller firms have a single executive performing the functions of a CEO and COO as well.
Due to this, the growth of employment for COOs can decrease.
According to the BLS, the salary of the top 10% of COOs is more than $187,200.
The median salary is $102,690.
It can also depend on a company, so COOs in large companies can make over $1 million and have additional benefits such as bonuses and pensions.
COOs ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the organization.
For this, they should develop strategies, communicate with other managers and employees, and assess their performance.
They need superior communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills to perform their duties.
In larger companies, COOs can make close to or higher than six-figure salary and receive additional benefits.