Looking at a CEO's daily schedule, one can tell a lot about the needs of a business. The Wall Street Journal is noting that CEOs are spending more time on college campuses. It's another data point showing that the talent war is real.
A few weeks ago, we noted that McDonald's was moving their national HQ to downtown Chicago because they were having trouble getting a new generation of talent to work at their location in the suburbs.
Now, it seems that CEOs are spending more time directly recruiting the next generation of their work force. They are having to put a face on the company, especially blue chip companies who might not be touted on the cover of Fast Company. General Electric took it a step further by creating a (funny) television ad campaign trying to rebrand what kind of employer they are. I know you have seen the ads...
In talking with David MacLennan, CEO of Cargill, the WSJ noted that "Business students want to know more about a potential employer's values and ethics, so Mr. MacLennan talks about meeting with rural farmers in Africa and pointedly doesn't refer to Cargill as an agribusiness company. A decade ago, job seekers just wanted to know when they'd be starting and how much they'd be paid," he said.
The primary job of a CEO is to ensure that a company has the financial and human resources it needs to achieve its goals. But, until very recently, CEOs have spent their time focusing on the financial resources and leaving the human side to the HR Department. Now, as Chris Policinski, CEO of Land O' Lakes, Inc., put it in the article, "Recruiting is too important to leave up to HR alone."
It is now a full company exercise to live up to the promises a CEO makes to its employees and consumers. Words are not enough. Websites are not enough. Deeds and actions drive the fulfillment of that promise. There is no substitute.
Photo: Cargill's CEO, David MacLennan. Photo credit: Ackerman + Gruber for the Wall Street Journal