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The CEO trust test

The CEO trust test - Nearly half of job seekers would reject an offer if unconvinced by the company's CEO.

03/04/2024 – In Germany, 43% of skilled workers would reconsider a job offer under similar circumstances, with 5% immediately declining offers due to CEO reservations.

This data stems from a survey of nearly 240 professionals by Robert Walters, demonstrating the significant influence of CEOs and managers on job seekers. Furthermore, 14% express distrust in their company's management.

CEOs' Growing Influence on Career Decisions:

According to the Robert Walters survey, 43% of professionals believe that CEOs hold the greatest sway over organizational culture. In contrast, over a third (35%) perceive the entire workforce as equally influential, while only 22% attribute significant contributions to workplace culture to middle management.

Thomas Hoffmann, Senior Director North at Robert Walters, underscores the substantial growth in the profile of CEOs and the leadership team over the past 18 months. "Individuals with a significant 'voice' are increasingly feeling the pressure to wield it judiciously and are expected to vocalize on various issues," Hoffmann explains. "Our survey delineates how the attitudes and behaviors of CEOs profoundly impact the career decisions of potential employees," he adds.

The exemplary case of Sam Altman

Hoffmann reports, "Further evidence of this is the recent case involving Sam Altman, the CEO of research company OpenAI. Altman was terminated by the company's board but reinstated after less than a week. Reports suggest that the board's change of heart was partly influenced by the threat of mass layoffs by employees. This illustrates the significant influence that top management holds over the attractiveness of a company as an employer. Consequently, CEOs and senior executives are increasingly pivotal in shaping companies' turnover, attractiveness, and retention rates."

The key to a CEO's success

The most valued CEO traits

Over half (53%) of respondents believe that empathetic and attentive CEOs bring the most value to an organization. Meanwhile, 21% attribute CEO success to leading by example, and 17% emphasize decisiveness in decision-making.

Hoffmann remarks, "It is increasingly evident that professionals prioritize CEOs who possess comprehensive industry knowledge and demonstrate confidence and determination. Additionally, they value CEOs who are empathetic and inclusive toward their employees and society at large. Success hinges on staying connected with one's team, fostering diversity, embracing varied perspectives, and navigating challenges with the best possible solutions. Regardless of experience, managers should never presume to have all the answers."

Building trust in both directions

The results of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2022 underscore a significant correlation between mutual trust in the workplace. Specifically, 71% of employees who felt their CEO trusted them responded with an 87% approval rating. In contrast, only 27% of professionals who did not feel valued by their CEO (29%) showed a similar level of trust in their manager.

Hoffmann elaborates, "CEOs can implement various strategies to enhance employee trust. This includes communicating to employees that their opinions are valued, creating platforms for free expression, recognizing their contributions, actively involving them in decision-making processes, and transparently communicating decisions."

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Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Thomas Hoffmann

Senior Director North | Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 377 07 3970

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