Gone are the days when c-suite executives operated from behind the scenes. Thanks to social media and the increasing emphasis on transparency and authenticity, c-suite leaders of even the most traditional companies are now becoming approachable. But there’s more to leadership brand than just approachable, friendly leaders. It is all about a company’s ability to develop exceptional leaders with a distinct set of capabilities to drive success.
A company with a strong leadership brand is like a ‘leader feeder’ - its managers consistently grow into leaders capable of running the show independently as the company focuses on building a more general leadership capability than training individual leaders. Interestingly, leadership brand is a distinct differentiating factor in today’s fiercely competitive talent marketplace. Almost a third of global leaders today cite attracting talent as their biggest managerial challenge.
Magnetic leaders: Creating the new rules of talent attraction
The book The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Talent, Customers and Profits, explores a direct correlation between magnetic leaders, a vibrant employer brand, and how the two combine to impact a company’s ability to attract and acquire talent. Here are two ways a powerful leadership brand can help attract top talent:
#1 Co-creating the employer brand with employees: Opinions of how companies and leaders treat their people and impact life at work have never been more openly shared and discussed inside and outside organizations as it is today. Whether leaders meet their employees’ needs, the types of employee experiences they create, and how they value work life balance - all affect the employer brand. Leaders who take charge and intrinsically link the employee experience with the employer brand are not only able to co-create value but also influence the stories that directly impact how well their companies compete in the global talent economy. Take for instance, the global beauty giant L’oreal. Ranked consistently as one of the world’s most attractive employers, employees say it is the company’s leadership building culture where all employees (from store staff to even interns) are encouraged to pitch for projects, share ideas, and access ample learning and training opportunities – factors that made them apply for jobs at the company in the first place.
#2 Mirroring company’s core values: When leaders follow the company’s values, employees get the message that the company takes its word seriously. 60% of CEOs say the responsibility for the employer brand now lies with the CEO rather than recruiters or HR. For instance, Uber is a company synonymous with speed of work, something that was reflected explicitly in its former CEO Travis Kalanick’s work style. He credited the company’s "rocket ship" growth with the opportunities it gave its young workers to solve real-world problems and a culture that frees them to experiment with radical solutions in a burgeoning field. Unsurprisingly, despite its reputation for long hours and a limited work-life balance, Uber has managed to entice some of the most brilliant minds in tech to leave cushy jobs at Google, Facebook and Twitter.
A dynamic leadership brand drives recruitment success
As the world becomes more transparent than ever before, companies can no longer rely exclusively on clever recruiting efforts and marketing to attract the talent they want. Those that focus on strengthening their leadership brand to impact the satisfaction of existing employees and influence employee advocacy in their favor will be best positioned to win the war for talent.