In a surprising find, a survey conducted by APPrise Mobile, an American app development platform, discovered that a noteworthy section of American employees working in mid to enterprise-sized companies could not name their CEO or even identify them out of a line-up.
1,000 respondents who work in an organisation with 500 or more employees were quizzed using Google Consumer Survey, which automatically fields a validated and representative sample of respondents.
The following are the important highlights of the survey findings:
- 23% of the respondents, who worked at companies with more than 500 employees, were unsure of the name of the CEO.
- Naturally, those who have just begun working were less familiar with top leadership, as 66% of those between 18 and 24 years of age were able to name their company’s CEO; as compared to 78% of those over the age of 25.
- 32% of the employees could not confidently identify their CEO from a line-up. Like the results in the case of naming their CEO, only 54% between 18 and 24 years were sure of passing the line-up test, whereas 69% of those over the age of 25% were sure of the same.
- 71% said that they do not work in the same location as their CEO does, whereas only 46% said that they had met their CEO in person.
- 69% chose email to be the most common platform for communication from the company’s CEO. But, 16% said this communication was on a weekly basis, and another 16% said they never hear from their CEO, which makes it difficult to identify who their leader is.
- 55% of employees at large businesses felt like they fully understood the company’s mission statement, and 23% were of the opinion that they would understand it better if they received regular and meaningful communication from their CEO.
- Frequent communication from the CEO also leads to more motivated employees (16%), employees recommending their jobs to others (9%), working harder at their job (8%) and turning down other job offers (6%).
Jeff Corbin, CEO, APPrise Mobile, says, “Effective employee communications is a necessary component of a company’s success and the results of our survey show that far too many companies do not do an adequate job of communicating and engaging with their workers, especially the younger ones. The CEO is the figurehead responsible for setting the tone and standard for his or her organisation’s communications attitude and strategy... Business leaders who prioritise communications, employee engagement and personally seek to establish a relationship with their workers will reap the benefits and see important gains across the business, not just operationally but also financially.”
The findings of the survey hold important insights for leaders and HR professionals all over the world. Ignorance on the part of the employees, about who their leader is, is substantiated with ineffective communication and engagement policies.
With an increasing focus on engaging employees effectively to make them more productive and connected to the organisation, equal attention must be given to how such engagement takes place. The survey shows that direct, frequent and relevant top-down communication from top leadership forms and integral part of the employee engagement, and the fact that 16% of the respondents said they never heard from their CEO is a worrying number. As much as the onus lies on the employees, about knowing who is leading them; it is also the responsibility of the leader to regularly communicate and engage with his or her employees on issues of critical importance.
As the survey report concludes aptly, “The results of the APPrise Mobile survey suggest that increased communications (especially from senior leadership) is critical to employee engagement and, if done consistently and effectively, can help to reduce these costs while bringing additional value to businesses.”