What role should a CEO play in an organisation’s internal communication?
Ask five IC professionals and you’ll probably get five completely different answers.
So it was fascinating to read US lecturer Linjuan Rita Men provide a new description for the CEO position – Chief Engagement Officer.
The assistant professor of public relations at Southern Methodist University believes the CEO role should not be simply rubber-stamping employee engagement strategies – but leading them by example.
And what does this entail?
Developing relationships with their internal audience – and genuinely listening to colleagues’ opinions, thoughts and concerns, according to Linjuan.
She wrote: “CEOs and their organisations are naturally linked together.
“CEOs, especially those who are also founders of their organisations, define corporate DNAs such as corporate character, mission, goals, purposes, culture, and values.”
Social media is changing the role of the CEO in communication too, Linjuan stresses.
Linjuan, who is also assistant research director for the Institute for Public Relations’ Organizational Communication Research Center, added: “CEOs can act as “chief engagement officers” and directly interact with their employees through leadership and executive communication.
“This is particularly relevant in today’s social media era when communication hierarchies have been blurred by the interactive, personal, democratic, empowering, and relational features of social media tools.
“Thus, the power distance has been reduced, bringing CEOs into life and allowing them to communicate with their employees in a friendly, authentic, and informal manner.”