It isn’t rare to see an interview with a chief executive in the media.

Every weekend, they fill newspaper business pages informing their inquisitor of the brilliance of their latest product or service, the strength of their balance sheet or their plans for the future.

And all of these are strong messages to land when given the opportunity to spread the message about your organisation.

But hearing a CEO speak with authenticity, conviction and evidence about the culture and values of their workplace isn’t such a common occurrence.

The frustration for their HR teams must be immense.

In a media interview with a national paper or broadcaster, their leader has the platform to articulate their employer value proposition, to shout about all their great employee initiatives and to attract top talent to the business.

More often than not, the opportunity is spurned.

But some leaders don’t waste their chance.

If you doubt the power of employer PR, reading through a recent profile interview with Louise O’Shea in The Independent may change your mind.

The chief executive of Confused.com used the high-profile opportunity to speak with conviction about improving gender diversity within the business.

She told journalist Zlata Rodionova how the comparison site had joined the Tech Talent Charter, the non-profit organisation driving greater inclusion and diversity in technology roles.

She spoke of her own actions, revealing how she took her eight-week-old baby into the company’s Cardiff office with her when she started as CEO.

Her focus was on the company’s culture and values, she said, and she told how she put recognition of employees and good communications at the forefront of her work.

She proudly lauded the agility and adaptability of staff who had taken to working from home in response to Covid-19.

There was high retention at the business because of its core purpose of helping Confused.com’s “David” customers taking on some of the “Goliath” businesses that weren’t giving them the best deals or service.

If you were trying to attract talent to Confused, you wouldn’t hesitate to wave that interview under the nose of a candidate.

Lousie O’Shea isn’t the only leader who knows the importance of speaking externally about internal culture.

Angela Cretu, the CEO of Avon, used a profile interview in The Times to highlight how she was transforming the business by putting inclusivity front and centre.

Referring to Avon’s five million representatives, she said she wanted to “destroy the idea of a global company… transform our culture and become five million small companies.”

She told Retail and M&A Editor Ashley Armstrong that she had dismantled the corner office at Avon’s HQ in Chiswick, West London – a powerful metaphor for her inclusive leadership style.

And she explained that she was a passionate advocate of empowering women – but did not believe in burdening them with the unfair “superwoman” tag, calling it an unfair expectation.

Again, it was an interview any HR lead would quite happily frame for the boardroom and point out to prospective talent as they considered whether to join the business.

Perhaps the most impressive recent example of conveying company values in the media belongs to David Potts, the chief executive of supermarket Morrisons.

In a profile interview with The Guardian’s retail reporter Sarah Butler, Mr Potts paid a heartfelt tribute to Morrisons colleagues.

He lauded them for “putting their bodies on the line” for the public and said that next to public health, his workers provided the most important service.

He spoke powerfully about the business’s purpose, saying that it had “galvanised over 100,000 people – to serve people of Britain.”

And possibly with one eye on a headline quote (if so it worked) he said: “Our people are the new rock stars. They are working with the British public and doing their thing in society.”

He managed all of this against the backdrop of a shareholder revolt over the proposal for a 24 per cent pension contribution rate for himself and Morrisons COO Trevor Strain.

The potential controversy was swatted away at the end of the piece with the 63-year-old saying that he never thinks of retirement because, “I feel fully employed in my job of feeding the nation.”

To speak with Harpswood Employer PR about leadership EVP media training or other employer PR services, contact hello@harpswood.com