Casper may be known as one of the first direct-to-consumer mattress companies to go viral — but this summer, it wasn't its products that hit the social media cycle. Casper’s “professional sleeper” job posting did. CPO Robert Lepere told HR Dive via email he noticed the “great deal of coverage” his job listing garnered locally and nationally.
The posting, for which applications opened July 28, showed up on CNN, Fortune, CBS News and Entrepreneur.com, among other places.
Thanks to his team’s own recruiting push on social media, the HR department had “thousands of applications” to sift through by the time they put the job listing to bed Aug. 11. But HR Dive’s conversation with Lepere indicated that deep rest and repose can be more than a dream for all personnel — not just the three new hires with “professional napper” as their title.
Lepere has been with Casper since April but in the HR game for more than 20 years; prior to this role, he led people teams at Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, ANN Inc., Ascena and FullBeauty Brands.
That early role at Old Navy was pivotal. “It taught me to think through every decision I made, and how those decisions would impact frontline employees who work directly with the customers,” he said. From Lepere’s perspective, his current role is a “full-circle moment,” but as the sleep brand’s internal culture fills him up in a distinct way.
“Casper’s focus on wellness and rest motivates me and my team to support our employees, to help them show up well-rested and to come to work as their true selves, every day,” he said. “Now more than ever, I’ve learned that a talent-first approach — ensuring we acquire and inspire people of different backgrounds, skill sets, beliefs, and motivations — is a true art form of the HR function.”
How external goals inform internal culture
This summer, Casper piloted a “nap hour” where each employee, at the behest of Casper HQ, had an hour to rest up on the clock. “As a company that is centered around sleep and wellness, we try to implement small moments to keep us grounded. We always try to create pockets of respite for our employees,” Lepere added.
The company live-streamed the kickoff nap hour, which was available for LinkedIn replay starting Aug. 4. Warning: watching Casper talent get some shut-eye under a comforter is a real catalyst for serious eyelid-drooping.
The three official sleep hires will likely be that cozy all the time. Lepere emphasized their core responsibilities: literally “sleeping on the job,” and having a “love and appreciation” for rest. Notably, the job listing mentioned sleeping "in unexpected settings out in the world.” It’s reminiscent of the performance art piece, Institutional Dream Series by Laurie Anderson.
From 1972 to 1973, Anderson picked eight different places to fall asleep, including the sands of Coney Island, a night court hearing and a Columbia University Library bathroom. Her hypothesis was that each location would influence her dreams in a different way.
In contrast, Casper’s dream team will be taking naps in the company’s retail stores. “Or anywhere, really,” Lepere added.
How the talent pool created its job
A core job responsibility for the newly hired nappers will be social media content creation — partly because social media is how the job came to be, anyway.
Using the “Chrissy, Wake Up” TikTok sound, Casper’s social media team posted a tongue-in-cheek video earlier this summer of someone “falling asleep” in-store. “Comments such as ‘I want to be paid to sleep!’ and ‘How do I apply for this job?’ started flooding in,” Lepere recalled. “It got us thinking about how getting paid to sleep would be a dream job for anyone.”
@casper Are our mattresses getting too comfy? #crissywakeup #crissywakeupidontlikethis ♬ stop using this sound - max mayfield ????????
Creativity and engaging externally in “a fun and lighthearted way” have been integral to the brand’s identity, he said. Because the role was birthed on social media, Casper wanted to hire talent who “can share this enthusiasm with the world,” Lepere continued.
The position opened up because of TikTok comments and the company’s HR department wanted to “give people what they were asking for,” the CPO said. But while the company acted quickly to reflect a branding opportunity in its hiring scheme, the recruiting and hiring process — and the values Lepere’s department sought out — remained the same, he added.
Lepere’s dreams for the future
Beyond a playful energy, Casper’s CPO said he wants to imbue his company’s work culture with thoughtfulness — and the warmth of a good duvet.
“It’s so important that we take care of each other in today’s tumultuous environment. We live in an age where we can no longer separate work and life — be it economically, socially, or politically. I genuinely feel Casper is a safe space for me to steer my focus — implementing change and encouragement for our employees to feel supported, both inside and outside of work,” Lepere said.
“It’s important to remember that each employee is a person experiencing their own challenges,” he added. “Leading with empathy and demonstrating compassion is instrumental in keeping everyone motivated.”