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How to 'see' the CEO in tough times

How to 'see' the CEO in tough times

By Stuart Maister, managing director of web TV agency BroadView 

In a time of financial uncertainty it’s good to see agencies are looking at recession PR offerings to their clients. But companies also need to be looking at other communication channels open to them, so that CEOs and company leaders can communicate with their staff and stakeholders in this time of flux.
What can be worse than your company’s share price falling, talk of a recession or the fear that your employer may be about to cut staff and investment because of the credit crunch? Silence from the top or a round robin email that’s meant to reassure, but feels like all of the other emails that get sent on a regular basis.
Staff and stakeholders need to ‘see’ the CEO and though this can be difficult due to busy schedules, there are ways for them to provide reassurance.

What could be more powerful at this time than seeing the senior leadership speaking directly to staff and addressing their fears on the credit crunch?
Fearful staff need to get straight answers from the CEO. They want to gain the confidence that comes from a clear communication in person, which is honest, as open as it can be and which directly addresses their concerns.
As time pressures squeeze companies, new channels such as video broadcasts are ideal. These broadcasts can be aired over the company’s intranet if the network will allow or through other platforms if necessary, and will bring the CEO closer to their staff.

The issue is immediacy and urgency, not technology, and there are ways to deliver this broadcast in all organisations.
Video broadcasts help to get messages across to wider audiences and will help to ensure that employees work in a ‘business as normal’ fashion despite the current economic situation.

It may sound like hard work, but only a small amount of time is needed to film and get the content uploaded onto an intranet. In comparison to the time it takes to get people into one room, this is a much more valuable method as the communication comes right from the top in a credible and straightforward manner - and is not passed on via numerous emails, where messages can be misconstrued.
In a time where communication is becoming more and more crucial to keep things moving, the key is authenticity. The CEO should be speaking in his or her own words and using language and tone, which replicates the experience of a one-to-one conversation. It’s not only the government that needs to lead, but CEOs across all industries too.



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