Employees prefer to work for active business leaders on social media in a ratio of 4 to 1, according to a survey by the Brunswick Group, an advisory firm. Those who are vocal online are seen as more transparent and accessible, a perception that is important for retaining and hiring, the firm found.
Far from a crappy sideshow, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn have increasingly become a way for C-Suite executives to communicate directly with staff, investors and the public.
Elon Musk, Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officer, has been following his Twitter account for years, including a bid to take over the platform, when Adam Aaron went to the site to run a share of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Amanda Blank, CEO of Aviva Plc, made the sexist remarks during a shareholders’ meeting in a post on LinkedIn last week.
The Brunswick company surveyed 3,600 employees with more than 1,000 employees and 2,800 financial publication readers.
About 82% of employees will research a CEO’s online presence when considering joining a company, and about 80% of employees and more than 90% of financial news readers expect leaders to communicate on social media when a crisis arises.
According to Brunswick, about 90% of employees and financial readers use social media every month, compared to only 70% who use traditional media sources, adding both importance and risk to these platforms.
Executives can highlight what they want about their company in real-time and control the narrative, said Arvind Malhotra, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina Canon-Flagler Business School, in an interview. He said there is always an opportunity for those who disagree, or who use the platform to express grievances. Even when the response is negative, those who respond directly and honestly can win more support than lose.
“But it requires a style of communication that is very different from a letter to shareholders in an annual report – if you’re not genuine you can turn people off instead of getting excited about the firm,” Malhotra said.
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