Nameless faceless CEOs

April 30, 2017

Nameless faceless CEOs

The headline was America’s Invisible Bosses and naturally I was curious. The research by APPrise Mobile found that nearly one quarter (23%) of Americans who work in companies with over 500 employees (midsized) were not sure whether they could name their CEO. This was more common among employees under 24 years old (not a surprise). I guess what did surprise me was this was not what I would call a case for “invisible bosses.” As I see this, the research says that nearly 3 in 4 employed Americans (77%) know their CEO’s name. That’s actually a pretty high number and certainly tips more on the “visible” side of the scale for me. CEOs are not as nameless as one might suspect.

APPrise included a great question in the survey. They asked whether employees could identify their CEO from a lineup. That made me laugh. Just imagine a line up of CEOs instead of criminals like we see on television police dramas. They’d be all suited up with great haircuts and starched shirts (for the most part). Maybe some females to fool the unsuspecting employees! The researchers found that one–third or 32% were unsure if they could point out their CEO from the line up. Again, that’s not such an overwhelmingly high number if the contrast is also true – that 68% claim to be able to pick out their CEO from a lineup. As they say, CEO recognition of names and faces has to be hard if many people work remotely or all over the world.

The truly concerning part of the findings was that only 16% of employees say they received weekly communications from their CEO and a comparable percentage said they never hear from their CEO at all. This finding highlights the need for CEOs to figure out how to communicate to their staffs more frequently and in more ways. Especially if they want their names to be on the tip of everyone’s tongues or god forbid, to help them get out of jail!

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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