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Lead Your Team Managing

CEO Identity a Mystery to Many Employees

CEO Identity a Mystery to Many Employees Credit: Man in shadow image via Shutterstock

CEOs may technically be the public face of their companies, but a new poll shows many employees couldn't pick theirs out in a crowd if they had to.

The survey on senior leadership from CareerBuilder found that 40 percent of workers have never even met their business’ CEO, and 21 percent don’t know what the top boss looks like.

Employees in business services, sales and manufacturing are most likely to have met their CEO, while a majority of workers in IT, financial services and retail say they have not met their organization's top leader, according to the study.

Knowledge of the organizational chart falls off significantly after the CEO, with only 35 percent of employees able to name all of the C-level officers at their organization.

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Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said C-suite leadership can be a difficult balance.

"They need to find a level of accessibility that allows them to connect with employees, while on the other hand, dedicatethe necessary time for building relationships with outside stakeholders," Haefner said. "Employees realize their top leaders can't know everyone on a first-name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization's values."

Leadership isn't the only area where employees are less than knowledgeable about their company.  More than two-thirds of the employees surveyed don't know how much their company generates in revenue each year.

The research was based on surveys of more than 7,700 full-time employees.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.