Highest Rated CEOs During the COVID-19 Crisis

It’s during difficult times that a leader really shows his or her true colors. This year, in particular, CEOs have had to make a range of difficult decisions given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s clear that some employees have felt supported and taken care of throughout the past few months as their employers have tried their best to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce, while also doing what’s right for the business they lead. Using employee feedback on Glassdoor, we examine which CEOs stand out for their leadership during these trying times. 

We analyzed employee reviews on Glassdoor to identify CEOs who have earned high praise from their employees in the U.S. and the UK in terms of their leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to leveraging CEO approval rating and the senior leadership workplace factor rating during the last five months, we also used text analysis to see what employees were specifically saying about COVID-19 and their CEO in reviews on Glassdoor. These CEOs lead a variety of companies in different industries, including health care, tech, and finance, and have each taken unique approaches to lead during this time. The tables below highlight the 25 Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19 among large U.S. companies and 10 Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19 among large companies in the UK who stood out based on employee feedback on Glassdoor between March and July 2020.

25 Highest Rated CEOs During the COVID-19 Crisis in the U.S. 

Rank CEO Name Employer Leadership Score During COVID-19 Industry
1 Mark Aslett Mercury Systems 95% Aerospace & Defense
2 G. Brint Ryan Ryan, LLC 93% Accounting
3 Michael Weinstein AIDS Healthcare Foundation 92% Health Care
4 Eric S. Yuan Zoom Video Communications 89% Tech
5 Stanley Middleman Freedom Mortgage 89% Finance
6 Aaron Levie Box 89% Tech
7 Corey Schiller & Asher Raphael Power Home Remodeling 89% Construction
8 Ben Salzmann Acuity Insurance 89% Insurance
9 Jim Kavanaugh World Wide Technology 88% Tech
10 Michael Schall Essex Property Trust 88% Real Estate
11 Steve Beauchamp Paylocity 88% Tech
12 Kenneth Cooper North American Dental Group 88% Health Care
13 Stu Sjouwerman KnowBe4 88% Tech
14 Paul Todd GLG 87% Consulting
15 Daniel Springer DocuSign 87% Tech
16 Steve Hasker Thomson Reuters 86% Media
17 Shelly Sun BrightStar Care 86% Health Care
18 Krishna Sudheendra UST Global 86% Tech
19 Chad Richison Paycom 86% Tech
20 Michael F. Mahoney Boston Scientific 86% Manufacturing
21 Scott Moorehead TCC Verizon Authorized Retailer 86% Retail
22 Paul Markovich Blue Shield Of California 86% Insurance
23 Mark Pearson Equitable Advisors 85% Finance
24 Steven P. Richman Milwaukee Tool 85% Manufacturing
25 Bill Goldstein Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 85% Government

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (Glassdoor.com/research)

These CEOs lead their employees in the U.S. across a variety of sectors, with workforces doing their jobs both remotely and in-person during this time. While the tech industry is most represented on the U.S. list, CEOs representing health care, manufacturing, insurance, defense, and several other employers stood out for their exemplary leadership. Mark Aslett, CEO of Mercury Systems, rose to the top of the list, especially because of feedback from employees on how they felt well taken care of during the pandemic. Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications, a company that has skyrocketed into the limelight and become a common way for people to communicate, has also been highly regarded by employees during this time. We also recognize several CEOs from Glassdoor’s previous Top CEOs award, such as Daniel Springer of DocuSign and Corey Schiller and Asher Raphael of Power Home Remodeling.

Key Theme: Caring for Employees During COVID-19

In both the U.S. and UK, when we analyze employee feedback at the companies with the Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19, a few key themes stood out related to the pandemic. We looked at the most common two and three-word phrases that appeared in the pros section of reviews left between March and July 2020 at these companies. Work-life balance stood out as one of the most common phrases, which is a common theme among reviews even outside of the time period we focused on. Another frequent set of phrases related to caring about employees and actually taking care of them during this time. Other reviews call out flexible work schedules and support for employees’ health and well-being during the pandemic. And, many of the reviews referred positively to the ability to work remotely. 

What are Employees Saying?

Glassdoor reviews help give a more detailed look into how employees at some of these companies have reacted to their CEO’s leadership during this time. Excerpts from select reviews are quoted below: 

  • “This company has stepped up so much in the effort to support its employee’s health and well being during the COVID pandemic. Our CEO has been so open and transparent and has been extremely generous in making sure employees are well cared for…”  
  • “The COVID pandemic showed how quick they are to react to our needs. No one person furlough and all staff were set up with the required equipment to work from home within days…”
  • “Since the start of COVID, we have had constant engagement and communication from upper management. The reassurance, guidance, leadership, and support has been nothing short of amazing. Please keep the communication flowing.”

These CEOs represent just a small subset of leaders who have stepped up to the plate to ensure the well-being and success of their employees amid COVID-19. A common trend from the feedback of employees of these leaders is that they are prioritizing their employees and making sure they are taken care of. As many of these employees are navigating major changes during the pandemic, between making the shift to working from home or adding additional health and safety precautions for work that requires face-to-face interaction, it’s clear that frequent and transparent communication as well as making the effort to listen to employees’ needs is more important than ever. As the pandemic progresses, it will be interesting to see how employers continue to put programs and resources in place to keep their employees motivated and satisfied in their jobs.
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The 30-60-90 Day Plan: Your Guide for Mastering a New Job

With all the joy and excitement of landing a new job, you can feel just as much fear and anxiety. The same can go for the hiring manager.

Overcoming a new role’s learning curve and the desire to make a lasting impression on your employer can put a lot of pressure on you. What if you can’t adapt in time?

Fortunately, there’s a way to organize and prioritize your time and tasks, helping you seamlessly adapt to your new environment. It’s called a 30-60-90 day plan. And following it enables you to soak in as much information as possible, master your core job responsibilities and sets you up to make a lasting impact on your new team.

Think of a 30-60-90 day plan as a new employee’s North Star, keeping your sights set in the right direction and guiding you toward success. But before we show you how to write this plan, let’s go over what exactly it is and how it’ll enhance your performance during your (or your employee’s) first three months on the job.

A 30-60-90 day plan lays out a clear course of action for a new employee during the first 30, 60 and 90 days of their new job. By setting concrete goals and a vision for one’s abilities at each stage of the plan, you can make the transition into a new organization smooth and empowering.

There are two situations where you’d write a 30-60-90 day plan: during the final stages of an interview process and during the first week of the job itself. Here’s how each type can be executed:

30-60-90 Day Plan for Interview

Some hiring managers ask candidates to think about and explain their potential 30-60-90 day plan as a new hire. They want to see if they can organize their time, prioritize the tasks they’d likely take on and strategize an approach to the job description.

For a new hire, a well thought-out 30-60-90 day plan is a great way to help the hiring manager visualize you in the role and differentiate yourself from all other candidates.

Of course, it can be difficult to outline your goals for yourself before you accept a new job. So, how are you supposed to know what those goals are? Start with the job description. Normally, open job listings have separate sections for a job’s responsibilities and a job’s qualifications. Work to find commonalities in these two sections, and how you might turn them into goals for yourself staggered over the course of three months.

For example, if a job requires three years of experience in Google Analytics, and the responsibilities include tracking the company’s website performance every month, use these points to develop an action plan explaining how you’ll learn the company’s key performance metrics (first 30 days), strengthen the company’s performance in these metrics (next 30 days) and then lead the team toward a better Google Analytics strategy (last 30 days).

30-60-90 Day Plan for New Job

The second situation where you’d write a 30-60-90 day plan is during the first week of a new job. If you’re the hiring manager, this plan will allow you to learn how the new employee operates, address any of their concerns or preconceived notions about the role and ultimately help them succeed.

If you’re starting a new job, and are not asked to craft a 30-60-90 day plan during the first week of that job, it’s still a good idea to write one for yourself. A new job can feel like a completely foreign environment during the first few months, and having a plan in place can make it feel more like home.

Even though 90 days is the standard grace period for new employees to learn the ropes, it’s also the best time to make a great first impression.

The purpose of your plan is to help you transition into your new role, but it should also be a catalyst for your career development. Instead of just guiding you over your job’s learning curve, the goals outlined in your plan should push you to perform up to your potential and raise your bar for success at its every stage.

30-60-90 Day Plan for Managers [Template]

Almost all 30-60-90 day plans consist of a learning phase, a contributing phase and a leading phase — which we’ll go over in the example plan below. This includes plans that are designed to guide people in new management roles. What sets apart a manager’s plan from any other is their obligation to their direct reports and the decisions they’re trusted to make for the business.

If you’re accepting (or hiring for) a new manager role, consider any of the following goals and how to roll them out at a pace that sets you up for success.

Get to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses.

Recommended phase: First 30 days

Everyone is learning the ropes in their first month at a company. For managers, much of that learning happens by talking to the team. If you’re a new manager, grab some time with your direct reports and get to know their roles. What do they like about them? What are their biggest pain points? Making your team happy is a hard goal to measure, but it’s an important responsibility to take on as a manager. Your first step is to figure out how you’ll manage and coach your employees through their day-to-day work.

Improve the cost-effectiveness of your team’s budget.

Recommended phase: Final 30 days

Managers often have access to (and control over) the budget for their department’s investments — things like software, office supplies and new hires. After you spend the first couple of months learning what the team spends its money on, consider using the final 30 days of your plan to make suggestions for new investments or how to reallocate money where you think it needs to be. Is there a tool that can automate a task that’s taking your team forever to do manually? Draft a financial strategy that includes this tool in the following quarter’s budget.

Help a direct report acquire a new skill.

Recommended phase: Second 30 days

Even though you’re new to the company, you were hired for a reason: You’ve got skills. And you can bring these skills to the people you work with, particularly those people who report to you. After meeting with and learning about your new colleagues, you might use the second month of your onboarding plan to find skill gaps on your team that you can help fill. Do you have expert-level experience with HubSpot, and your new company just started using HubSpot Marketing Hub? Teach them how to do something in the platform they didn’t know before.

Draft a training strategy that can help guide your direct reports into new roles.

Recommended phase: Final 30 days

You won’t be expected to promote people in the first three months of your new job, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have learned enough about your team to decide who’s good at what and how to coach them to where they want to be. In the final 30 days of your 30-60-90 day plan, you might agree to a goal to develop a training strategy that outlines how to manage your direct reports, and ultimately how to guide them into new roles in the future.

How to Write a 30-60-90 Day Plan

No matter the level of the job for which a company is hiring, improving an employee’s skills requires concrete performance goals, so watch out for vagueness in the objectives you set for yourself. “Write a better blog post,” or “get better at brainstorming” are terrific ambitions, but they don’t give you a way to measure your progress in them. Set goals that are realistic, quantifiable and focused. You’ll know exactly how to achieve them and gauge your success.

To write challenging yet feasible performance goals, ask yourself the following questions:

What are my team’s goals?

Try to understand the purpose behind your team’s goals. It’ll give you more insight into why you and your team should achieve them, motivating you to work as hard as possible to meet those goals.

What will be my main priorities?

By connecting your personal responsibilities to your team’s goals, you’ll know exactly how to align your tasks with the needs of the team, which keeps you accountable and compels you to help your team achieve their goals.

How will I measure my progress?

Tracking your progress helps you gauge your performance and rate of improvement. To see how you’re doing, set up weekly meetings with your manager to ask them what they think of your work and track the improvement of your own performance metrics, like the growth of your blog posts’ average views or the amount of qualified leads your eBooks generate.

Reaching your performance goals isn’t the only path toward future success in your new role, though. You also need to study the ins and outs of your team and company, take initiative and develop relationships with coworkers — all things that a lot of new hires underestimate the importance of.

Consider setting the following types of goals during each stage of your 30-60-90 day plan:

  • Learning Goals – How will you absorb as much information as possible about your company, team and role?
  • Initiative Goals – What will you do to stand out?
  • Personal Goals – How will you integrate with your company and team?

Aiming to achieve these types of goals will help you hit the ground running in all the right areas of your job. And if you stick to your plan, you’ll notice you’ll be able to spend less time learning and more time executing.

30-60-90 Day Plan Template With Examples

Behold, your 30-60-90 day plan template. Click the image below to download your own copy.

30-60-90 day plan template by HubSpot

So, how might you fill in the lines shown in the template above? Here’s an example:

30 Days

Primer

Many new hires are eager to impress, so they dive head-first into their work or try to make suggestions about their team’s process with limited experience in how their new team operates. But have patience.

Understanding your company’s vision and your team’s existing strategy is crucial for producing high-quality work and actually making an impact. If you don’t know the purpose behind your role or the optimal way to perform, you’ll risk missing the mark and your early efforts won’t pay off the way you expect them to.

It’s always better to over-prepare than under-prepare. And it’s okay to take time to learn the ropes — it pays huge dividends in the long run. In the first 30 days of your employment, your priority is to be a sponge and soak in as much information as possible. Once you do that, you can then try to improve more specific parts of your team’s work style.

Theme: Be a Sponge

Learning Goals
  • Study my company’s mission, vision and overarching strategy.
  • Read my company’s culture code to learn more about our company culture and why we implement it.
  • Read the customer persona and target audience overview to truly understand who our customers are, their pain points and how our product and content can help them.
  • Meet with my team’s director to learn about how meeting our goals will help our business grow.
  • Read up on our team’s new SEO strategy, editorial process and traffic goals.
  • Learn how to use the SEO Insights Report to plan and structure blog posts.
  • Review my team’s pillar-cluster model overview and understand how to match posts to clusters.
  • Meet with my manager to learn more about their expectations.
Performance Goals
  • Complete new hire training and pass the test with a 90% or higher.
  • Be able to write 3 blog posts per week.
Initiative Goals
  • Run the Facebook Instant Article experiment that my manager recommended.
Personal Goals
  • Grab coffee with everyone on my team, so I can get to know them on a professional and personal level.

60 Days

Primer

By the end of your first 60 days, you should ramp up your workload, start overachieving and make a name for yourself on your team. To do this, start speaking up more at meetings. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas about improving your team’s processes. This shows you’re quickly conquering the learning curve and recognizing some flaws that your colleagues might’ve overlooked. You still have a fresh perspective on the company, so your insight is invaluable.

Theme: Be a Contributor

Learning Goals:
  • Learn how to optimize a new post from scratch based on both the SEO Insights Report and my own competitive research.
  • Read every other marketing team’s wiki page to learn about other marketing initiatives and how our entire department works together to grow our business.
  • Deep dive into my company’s product roadmap and strategy to fully grasp our mission and vision.
Performance Goals
  • Be able to write 5 blog posts per week.
  • Be down to one cycle of edits per post.
  • Understand how to edit a guest post — clean up at least one rough draft.
Initiative Goals
  • Share content strategy idea at my team’s monthly meeting and ask if I can spearhead the project to boost blog traffic.
  • Ask my manager if I can oversee Facebook messenger and Slack distribution strategy.
Personal Goals

90 Days

Primer

By the end of your first three months, you should have a firm grasp of your role, feel confident about your abilities and be on the cusp of making a breakthrough contribution to your team. Instead of reacting to problems that pop up at random, be proactive and spearhead a new initiative for your team.

You should also be cognizant of how you can collaborate with other teams to improve your own team’s processes. By taking on some new projects outside of your main role, you’ll start turning some heads and catch the attention of the department at large.

Theme: Be a Leader

Learning Goals
  • Do an analysis of my highest- and lowest-performing blog post up to date. How can I use this information to optimize new content so it performs better out of the gate?
Performance Goals
  • Be comfortable with writing five blog posts per week
  • Edit one guest post per week
  • Try to have 75% of my blog posts not require revisions.
  • Write at least one new post that generates over 10,000 views in one month.
Initiative Goals
  • Ask SEO team if they want to partner with product marketing team to brainstorm content topics related to our product road map.
  • Ask social media team if they’re willing to develop a relationship where we can share each other’s content.
  • Ask sales team what our customers’ pain points are, so we can write content that our target audience craves and help them close more qualified leads.
Personal Goals
  • Join the yoga club.

Learning the nuances of your new role in less than three months won’t be easy. But crafting a strong 30-60-90 day plan is your best bet for accelerating your development and adapting to your new work environment as quickly as possible.

This article was originally published on HubSpot. It is reprinted with permission.

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