Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever for a prospective candidate to mine a company’s behaviour. CEOs and other senior executives portray themselves and their organisations daily on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Top executives actively use social media to reward high achievement and tout their own expertise.
C-suite culture is no longer isolated and soundproofed, it’s retweeted and shared around the Internet.
Shareablee analysed 250 business leaders to understand what content their companies targeted at C-suite individuals. Either those that are entering their first executive role or an experienced board member with a global reputation looking to develop his or her career. The posts range from those that give exposure and recognition to exceptional individuals, to CEOs outlining their own advice for success in these vital positions.
Power of social
Reward and recognition play a strong role in building a brand people want to work for. Social media accounts provide a compelling opportunity for companies to celebrate successes in the workplace and give praise where it is due.
Cisco used social channels to publicly recognise those who had made significant contributions to its business operations in the APAC region. Rather than simply offering an award, the company opened up opportunities to C-suite members for fireside chats, panels and webinars. This allowed them the opportunity to communicate more freely with the wider business and demonstrate the value they have in their teams.
Diana O’Brien, Global CMO at Deloitte, and Lauren Sallata, CMO at Panasonic, both stress the importance of inter-company C-suite communication and relationships through their social media accounts. “Having alignment across the C-suite is critical,” Sallata says. “We’re highly-focused on talent, development and culture.” Being able to convey this message across Twitter gives C-suite candidates an insight into that company’s values to determine if they personally align with them.
By using social media to promote a corporate culture at the C-suite level, companies can provide information on the personality type and leadership qualities they’re looking for in a C-suite member.
Mike Preston, Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte US, demonstrates this perfectly: his message to all prospective leaders concerns how they can work with others and build long-term happiness in the business. “A healthy and positive company culture,” he tweeted, “is a top factor in determining employee happiness.”
This message is most effective when coming directly from the CEO. Outspoken leaders on social use the platforms to personally praise their C-suite team. For example, T-Mobile leader John Legere praised Jeff Binder, his EVP, following a ‘Fierce 50 Executives’ award.
Legere tweeted: “Not surprised to see you featured as one of @fiercecable’s 50 executives reshaping the business. Can’t wait to Un-carrier TV with you!!”
Binder responded: “Thank you @johnlegere. An honor to be part of the greatest team in wireless @TMobile and sooo excited as we get ready to un-carrier TV and change cable for good!! #areyouwithus.”
Embodying the brand
CEOs have become a powerful voice in the social space in recent years, publicly declaring what their company stands for and why they are good at what they do. Ultimately, they are an embodiment of the brand. They work to build a better future. Engaging with their top executives globally is an essential part of the role.
Inevitably, each CEO or C-suite executive will engage in their own particular style on social media.
Sir Richard Branson continually stresses the importance of culture across the whole of the Virgin Group, spending time with employees on different initiatives that help Virgin feel like a place of value to work at.
Whether this is the culture of adventure or how to incorporate ‘play’ into work, Branson gives a compelling view of not only how culture works, but also how it should be taught and actioned by senior leaders.
GE, through a podcast programme built around Leadership Learning, allows aspiring executives to gain a closer look at life in the C-suite and how their actions are vital in driving growth throughout the business. There are many other examples of this kind of direct activity across the social media world.
The key is for CEOs to embody their brand and use it to build a powerful team with similar values.
In a recent tweet by Michael Bloomberg, both he and Tim Cook of Apple agreed, “one of your primary responsibilities is to decide what the values of your company are and lead accordingly”.
For some CEOs, however, the answer is much simpler. Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn, was asked recently by an executive joining his first board: “What makes for an effective board member?” His answer: “The insight into intrusiveness ratio. How much value you contribute to discussions, divided by how big of a distraction you are.”
Social will continue to evolve in the recruiting world as new platforms emerge to engage with candidates. In the near future, new forms of media such as Instagram long-form video and the evolution of LinkedIn could be deployed when giving advice.
As the market matures, these platforms may well become much more critical for those looking to progress to the C-suite level.
Launched in 2013, Shareablee empowers brands by providing data that can help them define and drive success on social media by arming them with metrics and predictive analytics that inform powerful best practices. It is the leading authority on audience intelligence, competitive benchmarking and actionable insights across the social web, measuring more than 500,000 global properties across all major social platforms every day. It helps marketers quantify the value of their audiences by providing insights and data-driven assessments about how consumers are engaging with their brands and competitors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and YouTube.
This article is from the latest ‘Talent and Potential’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson magazine, OBSERVE.
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