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April 3, 2012

The Face of the Company: How well do workers know their CEO?

Filed under: Communication,Management Practices9:14 am

If you’re at the top of your company, are you in touch with the frontline employees?  Do you know how their role fits in with the successful operation of your organization?  Perhaps a better question is: do they know?  Could most employees pick members of their company’s C-Suite out of a line-up?

The loss of a well-known and influential CEO can alter a company’s bottom line and brand recognition seemingly overnight.  (Think: Jim Henson and, more recently, Steve Jobs)  But, how well do most frontline employees know their CEO?  According to a recent survey from Careerbuilder, although 60 percent of respondents said they have met their company’s CEO at least once, over 20 percent said they had no idea what their CEO even looked like.

If you’ve ever watched Undercover Boss, (the reality show that takes one of a company’s executives and places him or her in different jobs to see how the company runs – which is often a bit disconnected from the perception) it won’t surprise you that respondents in the retail, IT, and financial services industries were least likely to have met their CEO.

Respondents’ knowledge of the C-Suite dropped steadily below the CEO – only 35 percent could name all of the company’s executive officers.

The CEO and other executive officers know they are the face of the company, both internally and externally.  Especially at a large company, rank-and-file employees don’t expect their C-Suite to know them by name. The solution: find a balance between the need to connect with employees and the necessity of building strong relationships with other stakeholders.

Careerbuilder Survey: How well do American workers know their CEO?


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