Updated: Apr 6, 2020
In times of uncertainty, it can be tempting for leaders to go radio silent, but the COVID-19 crisis is showing us just how important it is for business leaders to speak out. And stakeholders are listening: according to Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer, more than nine in ten employees and three-quarters of consumers want to hear from their company leaders on key issues of the day.
What’s more, business leaders who actively communicate with their audience, with authenticity and vulnerability, stand to forge connections that last well beyond the crisis. We’ve highlighted 5 leaders who are doing an exceptional job handling COVID-19 comms, effectively using their platforms to go places brands can’t.
Being there for employees: Jason Fried, CEO at Basecamp
A business is nothing without its employees — and reassuring them is among the most important jobs of a leader in a crisis. In a letter to team members at Basecamp, a project management platform for remote working, Jason reassures his employees that they will be paid their full-time salary and extends extra days off to help working parents figure out childcare and other needs. His message shows that he is a CEO who puts people first and helps deepen relationships with his already committed team.
Harley has been incredibly active on social media throughout this situation, showing consistent support for the millions of small businesses that use Shopify’s ecommerce platform. He’s made it clear that he stands with business owners and is committed to helping them, whether it’s through his own resources or Shopify’s. He constantly checks in with his audience, highlights inspirational stories and spreads positivity.
In an Instagram post about the decision to suspend operations at dozens of pubs and restaurants across the country, Ryan is open about how difficult the choice was and how much he and their senior management struggled with it. He shows himself as a leader who cares deeply about his employees and customers and understands that the decisions made impact their lives. Most importantly, he invites the people impacted to weigh in and provide input, showing commitment to having an open and transparent dialogue and building loyalty in a moment of crisis.
Paulina works with hundreds of women entrepreneurs to help build their businesses, provide advice and raise funding. Here she shows the power of empathy in action during a moment of crisis. Her post illustrates that it’s not necessarily about having all the answers as a business leader, as much as recognizing the challenges of those around you and offering the support you can to your stakeholders. She’s also creating a community where those who are in a position to give can make a difference.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced people to change the way they live. In an honest and sincere Instagram post, Lauren, whose company specializes in products for waste-free living, opens up about having to go against values she’s upheld for almost a decade. Not only does she share her thoughts and struggles, she also recognizes her privilege and urges her audience to be empathetic and do what they need to feel safe.
In times of crisis, it's more important than ever for business leaders to speak up and add value to the conversation. In light of COVID-19, we’ve created a new category to recognize leaders guiding their stakeholders through this crazy time.
We’re looking for founders, executives and business leaders who believe in the power of social and digital channels to make a difference during times of crisis. If this sounds like you (or someone you know), visit www.csuiteawards.com to apply.
The 2020 CSuite Digital Leadership Awards are the first awards dedicated entirely to recognizing business leaders doing exceptional things on social media and digital channels. Winners are featured in national press and win amazing Hootsuite prizes.