January 24, 2024

Anna Aarnisalo

The First 100 Days as a Chief People Officer

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Episode Summary: First 100 Days as Chief People Officer with Anna Aarnisalo from CADMATIC


  • Host: Samuli Salonen from TalentBee.
  • Guest: Anna Aarnisalo, Chief People Officer at CADMATIC.
  • Focus: First 100 days as a Chief People Officer and adapting to a new role.

Background of CADMATIC

  • A software company specializing in 3D software for shipbuilding, process industry, and buildings.
  • Global presence in 15 countries.

Transitioning to a New Role

  • Challenges and rewards of moving to a new company after a long tenure at a previous organization.
  • Importance of refreshing perspectives and applying previous experience to a new environment.

Pre-Joining Considerations

  • Decision to join CADMATIC influenced by global approach and growth plans.
  • The role of a headhunter in facilitating the transition.

Initial Focus and Strategy

  • Understanding the business, team, culture, and stakeholders.
  • Prioritizing tasks based on business needs and personal insights.
  • Emphasizing listening and engaging with different organizational levels.

Short-Term Goals and Focus Areas

  • Enhancing talent and performance management.
  • Improving internal communications for transparency and leadership support.
  • Streamlining processes and providing tools for managers.

Measuring Success in HR

  • The difficulty of choosing a single North Star metric.
  • The importance of comprehensive measurement covering profitability, employee satisfaction, and leadership.

High-Performing HR Team Structure

  • Emphasizing people operations as a business-critical function.
  • Structuring the team to handle people operations, talent acquisition, talent development, and internal communications.
  • Utilizing HR as strategic agents in collaboration with other organizational units.

Future of AI and Technology in HR

  • Viewing AI as an assistant in the HR process.
  • Continuously learning and integrating AI tools for efficiency.

Value Proposition of HR

  • Developing a clear value proposition for the HR function.
  • Setting expectations and defining the scope of HR's responsibilities.

Advice for New Chief People Officers

  • Keep an open mind and stay above operational challenges.
  • Set clear goals and align them with management and board expectations.
  • Focus on implementation and personal well-being.


  • Key learnings: Adapting to a new role requires a balance of listening, strategic planning, and implementing learned experiences.
  • Actionable tips: New CPOs should prioritize understanding their new environment, set clear goals, and focus on strategic HR contributions.

Key Learnings and Actionable Tips:

  • Understanding the Business: Prioritize learning about the company's operations, culture, and people.
  • Balancing Expectations: Align personal insights with the company's needs for effective HR strategy.
  • Short-Term Focus: Concentrate on performance management, internal communication, and process efficiency.
  • HR Team Structure: Build a team that covers critical HR functions and collaborates across the organization.
  • AI and Technology Integration: Use AI as a tool for enhancing HR operations and continuously adapt to new technologies.
  • Value Proposition of HR: Define and communicate HR's role and objectives within the organization.
  • Adapting to New Roles: Stay open-minded, set clear goals, and maintain a balance between strategic planning and personal well-being.
  • Continuous Learning: Embrace the learning process in a new role and utilize past experiences for growth.

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