What your customers think of your CEO impacts what they think of your company, according to a 2011 study by Weber Shandwick. As the corporate leader, the CEO can do a lot to help make sure their company has a top employer brand.
Be a good leader
What do Jeff Weiner of Linked In, Alan R. Mulally of Ford, and Howard D. Schultz of Starbucks have in common? They lead companies with some of the top Employer Brands and they are all on Glassdoor.com’s list of the 50 Highest Rated CEO’s for 2014 with approval ratings well above 90%.
Leaders like these have built their credibility by operating with the highest degree of transparency possible. As the most visible member of the management team, a CEO’s actions are given a different weight and will be evaluated for their “genuine”ness. Employees see when actions do not match the message and that will undermine engagement efforts.
Stay in touch with how employees are feeling by making it a habit to get out of the office and onto the floor in all areas of the company. Reviewing employee feedback from different areas, from surveys or exit interviews, gives leaders a place to start conversations with individual employees in any role.
The first tier of relationships that determine a CEO’s reputation and impacts engagement are the relationships on the executive team. People want to work for leaders that help develop the right skills in the right areas and empower their people. Model the leadership attributes that create a strong EVP at all levels by providing constructive feedback, growth opportunities and sincere thanks for a job well done, from the top down.
Employees at all levels develop an opinion of the CEO that will contribute highly to the public perception. Strong CEO’s develop a relationship with employees, and not just the executive team. Part of the role for a CEO, is to be the “mascot” for employees. Open a genuine two-way communication channel with employees and ensure they are involved in the big-picture goals wherever possible. When the CEO is visible in all areas of the organization and shows an interest in the contributions at all levels, the trust employees have in management will increase.
As the company’s most visible representative, the CEO should build external relationships with vendors, partners and customers. Understanding the business of their most important customers enhances a CEO’s ability to steer the business successfully. Speak the language of the industry and understand the unique needs of individual customers. Be involved in customer events, special networking forums or gatherings to help build the community around your organization.
Build a Personal Brand
The CEO’s Personal Brand can add a lot of value to the company’s Corporate and Employer Brand, as the spokesperson. Build Brand-recognition by speaking at as many events as possible. Storytelling is an increasingly important skill for business leaders, and one great story in the media can make a major impact on your brand.
Not only the CEO, but the entire leadership team and top sales executives can help to drive the Employer Brand through their personal branding. A blog is a good tool to share expertise or exciting updates on a regular basis; pictures can be worth a thousand words on Pinterest or Instagram; and a CEO’s Linked In profile acts as the company’s virtual calling card, and more people are turning to twitter for customer service.
Social media provides so many outlets that allow someone to become an active voice in their industry. It can be advantageous to work with a company like BluIvy Group to leverage this visibility and present a strong, cohesive corporate message. A two-hour session can provide executives with best practices in supporting corporate thought leadership and company branding with top personal brand profiles. Ensure that your messaging and social media presence reliably reflects the values you want to be known for.
Sponsor the Organization’s Employer Branding Strategy
As the CEO, the company’s bottom line is your business and Employer Branding can enhance that bottom line. The EVP can impact all areas of a company’s productivity from the initial candidate attraction strategy to ongoing employee engagement.
Successful employer branding involves a high degree of collaboration between departments; who may have some competing priorities. When the top executive supports the branding initiative, there is a higher degree of motivation for departments to put aside any differences and work together on the Employer Branding deliverables that will impact the entire organization and contribute most to the strategic priorities.