Brunswick Review Issue 13

Work force

If you had to switch out the middle word in Chief Executive Officer, what alternative would you choose?

Chief Shareholder Officer? Shareholder activists would approve. Or would you opt for something more inclusive: Chief Stakeholder Officer? Here’s a thought: Chief Employee Officer. There’s something more than simply poetic about CEOs prioritizing their workforces: it’s smart business. In this issue of the Brunswick Review, we explain why, and offer lessons and advice on how to make your workforce the pride and profit center of your organization.

In these pages, an executive of Mars explains how the chocolate and petcare leader consistently lands high atop lists of the best places to work. LinkedIn’s top executive in Asia shares with us the deep trust the company places in its employees, and the rewards it brings. Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Executive tells of the dramatic improvement that ensued after the medical facility began referring to all employees, even maintenance workers, as “caregivers.” A Chinese financial giant describes how it named itself after a tiny insect because of its spectacular capacity for teamwork.

Some challenges are tougher than others. A South African mining executive talks about the difficulty of communicating with a workforce that’s not only multilingual but also too far underground to receive email and texts. Sure to be controversial, meanwhile, is Arianna Huffington’s proposal that emails while an employee is on vacation be automatically deleted.

How to keep top talent happy is a challenge familiar to every leader. ProPublica founder Paul Steiger talks here about how, during 16 years as Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, he groomed (and maintained peace between) the future top editors of CNBC, the Washington Post, Reuters, USA Today and Time Inc. 

Also in these pages, Brunswick’s own employee-engagement experts dispense truths and dispel myths, including whether engagement surveys are worthwhile. One point they make is that the popularity of celebrities reveals a deep human hunger for role models. “Are the leaders in your business role models for employees? Do they display the behaviors you want employees to copy?"

There's a thought for leaders: be the employee you want your employees to be.

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