FTI Consulting Survey Finds CEOs Gain Favor Among Investors and Employees by Addressing Major Societal Issues
FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN) today announced the results of a new survey, CEO Leadership Redefined, that finds stakeholders are increasingly turning to CEOs for leadership on issues that go beyond the business.
FTI Consulting’s Strategic Communications segment conducted surveys among a nationally representative sample of U.S. working professionals and institutional investors. The research was designed to understand the expectations these critical stakeholders have of CEOs amid a period of political and social unrest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The challenging events of the past two years have made clear that society is demanding a different kind of leadership from a new generation of CEOs. This research proves that important stakeholders for businesses, including employees and investors, are paying close attention to not only what CEOs say, but also the actions they take within their own businesses to address societal issues,” said Brent McGoldrick, a Senior Managing Director and Americas Head of the Digital & Insights practice within the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting.
Research revealed that investors and working professionals strongly believe that CEOs must focus on people and the planet, in addition to profit. Increasingly, stakeholders are looking to CEOs to address and navigate issues that go beyond the business – from climate change to social justice to public and employee health. Further, how CEOs address these issues through their words and actions can positively or negatively impact a company’s reputation and their own favorability.
Key findings from the survey include:
- Investors (82%) and professionals (75%) overwhelmingly agree that CEOs must take a stand on issues of importance.
- Investors (92%) and professionals (77%) believe that what a CEO says about societal issues impacts their overall opinion of the company.
- Engagement with societal issues helped to improve CEO favorability with 58% of investors and 45% of professionals saying that their opinion of CEOs is more favorable as a result of their engagement in dialogue around societal issues.
- The ways in which CEOs handled the COVID-19 pandemic increased favorability the most, with 6 in 10 professionals (59%) and investors (60%) having a more favorable opinion of CEOs based on their response.
- Professionals believe that CEOs must prioritize the physical health and mental well-being of employees more than any other business issue (34% of respondents indicated as top priority), followed by diversity, equity, and inclusion (19%).
“We’re at a critical moment where CEOs must redefine what it means to be effective business leaders moving forward,” said Christine DiBartolo, a Senior Managing Director and Americas Head of the Corporate Reputation practice within the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting. “Taking on complex societal issues, demonstrating strong corporate purpose and values, and regularly communicating are now critical components of the CEO’s job.”
This is the first installment of FTI Consulting’s CEO Leadership Redefined series. FTI Consulting will host a webinar on Thursday, December 16 to review survey results and what they mean for CEO communications strategies – register here. Future installments will dive deeper into topics like ESG and sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and political advocacy.
About this survey
FTI Consulting’s Strategic Communications segment conducted a survey across the United States among 1,012 employed professionals of companies greater than 250 employees, as well as 253 institutional investors. The survey was conducted online between September 10-18, 2021.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 6,600 employees located in 29 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company generated $2.46 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2020. In certain jurisdictions, FTI Consulting’s services are provided through distinct legal entities that are separately capitalized and independently managed. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.
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Elly (Burrows) DiLeonardi