A new study from public relations firm Edelman revealed that most Americans trust companies more than the government -- a sudden turnaround that’s thanks, in large part, to the increased openness of CEOs, according CEO and President Richard Edelman.
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“CEOs have changed,” Edelman told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Wednesday. “CEOs are more willing to talk with their employees, and not just shareholders.”
Because of that, Edelman said more employees, many of whom are millennials, are looking toward these institutions as the central guiding points in their lives. And because millennials tend to want companies with a “purpose,” they actively want to hear CEOs weigh in on social issues of the day, like the debate on LGBT rights, he said.
According to the Chicago-based firm’s report, 84% of employees expect CEOs to inform conversations and policy debates on one or more pressing societal issues, including jobs, the economy, automation, regulation and globalization.
“We’re in a tight employment market, you want the best and the brightest to come work for you,” Edelman said. “And the younger employee is actually looking to the CEO as, in a way a father figure, mother figure, and [want them to] lead the discussion, as opposed to just ’I take orders from you.’"
For instance, Starbucks -- one of Edelman’s clients -- closed 8,000 of its stores nationwide for several hours on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training among after coming under fire for the arrest of two African-American men at one of its Philadelphia stores in April.
“It was an important moment for the company to give a place for a discussion about how to treat customers, and to close the stores,” Edelman said. “It was very evocative of 10 years ago when Howard Schultz said they were going to close the stores and train their people how to make the coffee better.”