Q&A: Why new recruits want to work for visible leaders

Profile sat down with Jordan Greenaway, founder of Profile, to discuss the agency's latest research, which shows that employees want to work with companies with visible leaders.

Jordan Greenaway looking at the camera

Profile recently commissioned new research that shows employees prefer to work for companies with visible and recognisable leadership teams.

We sat down with Jordan Greenaway, Profile's founder, to discuss the research – as well as its implications for business.

What was your headline takeaway from this research?

"The research shows that new recruits do not see their recruitment decisions only through the lens of which company they want to work for.

"Instead, more often, recruits are thinking about the types of people that they want to work with: who are their colleagues? Who is their line manager? And, perhaps most importantly, who is leading the company?

"It's a reality check for many businesses: many organisations invest huge sums of money in building their employer brand to become a 'go-to' place to work.

"Yet, they invest comparatively little in the profiles of the people running the business. But, this is one of the key factors that new recruits look at when deciding between job offers.

Why do you think recruits want to work with companies with visible leaders?

"Leaders are often seen as symbols of the culture of a company.

"A company led by an innovative, forward-thinking, ambitious tech pioneer suggests one type of company; a company led by a passionate and mission-driven former adventurer and explorer suggests another.

"New recruits look to the leaders of a business to understand more about a company. If it is difficult to find out about the leadership team, it will much more difficult for recruits to understand what the business stands for.

"Plus, a visible and recognisable leader often acts as a 'stamp of credibility' for the wider business."

Why do you think so many employees say that their company's leadership teams are not visible enough?

"The truth is that the leaders of most organisations simply aren't visible, either inside or outside of their companies.

"A huge amount of time is invested in marketing and building the brand of a company, yet less than, perhaps, 5% of that energy is invested in building the profile of the company's leadership team.

"Many leaders do not recognise that this is part of their job and they may even feel uncomfortable building their profile through the media, social media, or elsewhere. But the results of this research shows that this attitude needs to change, and change quickly."

Does this provide companies with an opportunity?

"It provides smaller companies and start-ups with a huge opportunity. In the talent market, it is widely assumed at the big well-known brands, likes of PwC or HSBC, are always going to snap up the best talent, if anything because they can usually pay more.

"But, this research shows even the smallest start-up can out-compete the biggest companies when it comes to building the profiles of their CEOs and founders, which will get them a concrete and tangible edge when it comes to appealing to new hires."

If you were to give a company one recommendation based on this research, what would it be?

"Reallocate at least part of your employer brand marketing spend to building the profiles of the key leaders of your business: not just the CEO, but the CTO, CFO, and other leadership figures too.

"This might mean activating their social media channels, producing in-house videos and podcasts, or engaging with the media.

"Ultimately, people want to work with good people, and you're probably not doing enough to showcase your good people at the moment."

Profile is an award-winning thought leadership agency. We create visible leaders. If you would like to discuss building the profile of your leadership team, book in a no-obligation strategy call.

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