CEOs must build their reputation to attract talent

Emma Dale, co-founder and managing director at recruitment firm Prospect believes that CEOs who wish to attract today's top talent in communications and public relations should consider building a strong reputation on social media.

Emma Dale, co-founder and managing director at Prospect
Emma Dale, co-founder and managing director at Prospect

When discussing a new role with a candidate, one of the first questions they tend to ask is, "What is the senior leadership like?" or 'How does the CEO perceive communications?" These questions are not just conversation starters; they are important questions to candidates in determining if they will join a company.

The recent Weber Shandwick study The CEO Reputation Premium: A New Era of Engagement, highlights that more than three-quarters (77 percent) believe that the CEO’s reputation attracts and retains (70 percent) employees.

With most communications heads reporting to the CEO, it is crucial that both parties share the same values and vision. If the CEO is not supportive of communications and does not understand the value of communications when determining reputation, it becomes very difficult for a communications head to do their job well.

Many of the candidates that I speak to have a strong opinion on the companies they want to work with and this is largely influenced by the reputation of its senior leadership. From my perspective, a company can improve its employer branding and attract high quality candidates by supporting a positive reputation of their CEO online and offline.

In a world where 140 characters and 10-second sound bites rule the day, effective communication matters more than ever. A CEO’s reputation can improve by engaging effectively on social media. Today’s top corporate leaders are gradually recognising the importance of social media and social platforms as a key part of talent recruitment. The survey highlights it is far more important for CEOs to be visible on social media and the Internet in Asia Pacific than in Europe or North America.

Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra Group, an Indian industrial conglomerate is a remarkable example. With 1.79 million Twitter followers, Anand Mahindra’s feed is an engaging mix of business and personal content. While Mahindra isn't necessarily a household name in North America, he puts out content that attracts a global audience.

The way I see it, social media is not just a communications tool but it can be used as a leadership tool that surpasses many traditional approaches to listen and communicate with stakeholders and provides a direct connection to prospective candidates. As Asia faces a tightening of labour market particularly at the senior level, it is about time CEOs realise the importance of their presence on social media and use it to engage, attract and retain talent.

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