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20 Percent of Employees Don’t Know What Their CEO Looks Like

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that some American workers have about as much chance of properly identifying their CEO in a lineup as they do of winning the Hunger Games…but does it matter?

CareerBuilder recently surveyed more than 7,000 full-time workers to find out how well American workers know senior leadership at their organizations. Results indicate that while most workers have met their CEO, many don’t even know what he or she looks like. Below are highlights from the survey.   

  • 40 percent of American workers say they’ve never met their CEO in person.
  • 21 percent don’t even know what their CEO looks like.
  • Only 35 percent of workers can name all of the C-level officers at their organization, while an additional 21 percent can only name some C-level officers.
  • 68 percent of workers don’t know how much their company generates in revenue each year

What your employees don’t know (about the CEO)…Can it hurt?
According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, visibility is key to employee engagement. “Employees realize their top leaders can’t know everyone on a first name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization’s values,” she says.

And while it might not be feasible to give one-on-one time to every employee, finding a way to connect is an important part of the leadership puzzle.

“Leadership from the C-suite can be a difficult balance. The CEO and, in some cases, other senior leaders are the face of the company both internally and externally. Meaning, they need to find a level of accessibility that allows them to connect with employees, while on the other hand, dedicate the necessary time for building relationships with outside stakeholders,” Haefner says.

“How I stay connected” | Insights from the CareerBuilder Leadership Series
We gathered thoughts from various industry leaders on how they connect with employees at every level – and why establishing such a connection matters. Here’s what they said.

“It is difficult in a large company to have one-on-one relationships with all employees, but I find doing brown bag lunches and skip level meetings pay back immensely. It is great to know the people who are working hard every day for your success and let them know who you are as a person, not just a figurehead.Gregg Kaplan, President and COO of Coinstar

“Whether it be through pre-shift meetings, individual one-on-one meetings, sharing individual guest experiences, or technological communication, our managers live ‘The Message’ and do what they can to ensure our employees have a great experience. When the employees feel valued and respected it rolls right to our guests.Rick Frederico, Chairman and Co-CEO of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc.

I encourage Sabre employees to follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog so they are informed regarding the direction of – and what’s going on within – the company.”Philip P. Jaurigue, President and CEO of Sabre Systems, Inc.

“One thing I enjoy is the lunch and learn sessions we host. We go out into the field, give short sound bites of what’s going on the in company, then go around the room to hear from employees. It’s a great way to get a pulse of the organization.” –Maritza Poza-Grise, vice president of DuPont Human Resources

“In the first two years in my role, I visited over 200 facilities to allow me the most informal way to actually meet our caregiver teams. I met with as many people as I could, and I tried to get them to tell me what was on their minds. It was extremely valuable for me; and I felt that I really developed a special relationship with the employees I talked to.” – George V. Hager, Jr., CEO of Genesis HealthCare

“Senior management travels a lot to our regional and local offices; we’re very active in the business and strive to understand what our team faces every day in providing services to our customers. We’re always out there, kicking up dirt and turning over rocks to help uncover opportunities with our employees.” – Jeff Pederson, President of CORT Business Services

How does senior leadership stay connected with employees at your organization?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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