Survey: 20 Percent of Workers Have No Clue What CEO Looks Like
Some high-profile companies -- Facebook, for example -- have such highly visible CEOs that you don't have to work there to know who runs the place. But if you couldn't pick your own CEO out of a line up, don't worry, because you're not alone.
A new CareerBuilder survey of more than 7,000 full-time workers reveals that while 60 percent of workers have met their CEO, many -- 21 percent -- don't even know what he or she looks like. By industry, workers in business services, sales and manufacturing are most likely to have met their CEO, while a majority of workers in information technology, financial services and retail say they have not met their organization's top leader.
Depending on where you live, you may be better able to recognize your CEO if you are in an elevator together. Workers from the Midwest and South are least likely to know what their CEO looks like, followed by the West and East:
- Midwest -- 23 percent
- South -- 23 percent
- West -- 19 percent
- East -- 18 percent
According to the survey, workers' awareness of the C-suite falls off significantly after the CEO. Just 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.
"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," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "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."
Get To Know The CEO
Depending on the size of your company, your level or the visibility of your executives, you may never become BFF with the C-suite. Yet there are ways you can take matters into your own hands:
- Do your research: Go to your company's website and see if there's an "About Us" or "Executive Bios" section. Bookmark the page -- chances are if there are bios, there are pictures that go along with them.
- Speak up: If you're at a meeting with the CEO, no matter what the size, introduce yourself. Even if you just say your name, title and what you work on, the CEO will appreciate your assertiveness and will more likely than not remember your name, or at least your face. And by having a brief conversation, it'll help you remember him or her, too.
- Make a suggestion: If you think your company's executives could do a better job of getting in front of employees, don't be afraid to say so. Most companies offer confidential employee surveys, so that's one good place to make the recommendation.
- Volunteer: Offer to work on a high-profile client project or volunteer to help with the company's philanthropy initiative. This will give you more visibility within the company and, chances are, more interaction with the C-level.
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Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job-search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Debra grew up in Minneapolis, went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently resides in Chicago.