by Weber Shandwick Korea
May 24th, 2016


The war for talent is heating up. With more of the Millennial generation entering the workforce, companies are tasked with recruiting — and retaining — employees who differ remarkably from those who worked before them.

Our research suggests that tapping into the influence of senior leadership is key in this battle for Millennial talent.

Millennials Are Listening to CEOs. Are You Speaking Their Language1

The CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era, our recent study, found that more than half of Millennials (58%) were influenced by their CEO’s reputation to accept a job, and even more (68%) say their CEO’s reputation influences their decision to remain at the company. With Millennials expected to move from job to job, this impact on retention is especially important.

Not surprisingly, social media should be the first stop in building CEO reputation. Just over half of Millennials (54%) say they follow their own company’s senior leadership on social media, compared to 45% of Gen Xers and only 26% of Boomers. And Millennials aren’t just concerned with their own executives. Nearly one-third of Millennials (29%) are also keeping tabs on other companies’ top executives online.

This demand begs the need for CEOs to be more visible in social media. Aspreviously noted, the visual component of this visibility is not to be under-estimated.

From a PR perspective, the ascendance of visual influence requires that CEOs use video, visual social posts and mixed media needed to engage people online, including journalists and producers sourcing content for online articles.

Social and traditional media platforms are deeply interconnected. Both are dependent on visual storytelling optimized for mobile. Eventually it will be hard to distinguish between the two.

It would be easy to see this need to recruit a whole new kind of employee as a massive challenge — and it is. But it’s also an opportunity. Millennials are information-hungry when it comes to CEOs. Never before has senior leadership had a more eager audience for what they have to say.

Millennials Are Listening to CEOs. Are You Speaking Their Language2


The flip-side of that: Millennials are used to talking back — and being heard. For years they’ve been using social media to converse in a very real way with everyone from superstar athletes and their favorite bands to major brands and social activists. They expect to be able to do the same with the senior leadership of companies they follow.

This demands a four-pronged approach:

  1. Converse in their language. No corporate-speak.
  2. Converse in their formats — visual influence is crucial to leverage.
  3. Say it in all the places where Millennials congregate online.
  4. Don’t forget to listen and respond where appropriate.

Senior leadership has never been more welcome to converse with potential recruits and employees than they are today. Millennials pay attention, participate in back-and-forth, and when deciding where to work, give great weight to the way CEOs engage. How is your organization making the most of this reality?


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