HR Execs concerned about future leaders

HR Execs concerned about future leaders

A recent study by IBM has found that more than 75 per cent of HR executives are concerned with their ability to develop future leaders, and given the explosive growth in emerging markets and the retirement of experienced personnel in more mature economies, companies are placing their growth strategies at risk if they cannot identify and develop the next generation of leaders.

A recent study of more than 400 HR executives from 40 countries found that leadership issues are surfacing worldwide, with organisations in every corner of the globe being impacted. Companies in the Asia-Pacific region are most concerned with their ability to develop future leaders(88 per cent), compared to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (74 percent) and the US at 69 per cent.

“The ability of an organisation to look ahead and identify the skills it will need in the future, and then rapidly develop a critical mass of individuals with those skills in a cost-effective manner, will be a core competency for those companies looking to compete in the globally integrated world,” said RandyMacDonald, senior vice-president of HR for the IBM Corporation.

The study, which was developed by IBM GlobalBusiness Services’ human capital management practice and the IBMInstitute for Business Value, with assistance from the EconomistIntelligence Unit, found that rotating employees across divisions andgeographies is also an important way to hone future leadership talent.

Yet, 36 per cent of HR executives stated thatrotating leadership talent is a significant challenge in developingfuture leaders. Another key challenge is the generation gap – passingon knowledge from older to younger employees (28 per cent).

In addition to being unable to developeffective leaders, 52 per cent of HR executives said a significantworkforce-related challenge facing their organisations is the inabilityto rapidly develop skills to address current and/or future businessneeds. Furthermore, more than one-third of study participants statedtheir employee skills are not aligned with current organisationalpriorities (36 per cent).

“In today’s business environment,organisations worldwide need to have a pipeline of future leaders who can deliver on today’s commitments, drive workforce and enterprise transformation, and lay the groundwork for future growth,” said Tim Ringo, global human capital management leader, IBM Global BusinessServices.

“Effective leadership not only guides individuals through turbulent business conditions, but creates a climate that attracts and retains high-performers, who will be in increasingly short supply in the future.”

For many companies participating in thestudy, turnover continues to increase. Forty-seven per cent of theorganisations surveyed said that employee turnover has increased overthe past two years, while only 16 per cent said it has decreased.

HR executives and line-of-business executivesappear to be more concerned about developing existing employee skillsthan attracting new talent. Many believe their corporate reputationswill allow them to attract and retain the people they need. While 52per cent indicate an inability to rapidly develop skills is a primaryworkforce challenge, only 27 per cent state the inability to attractqualified candidates is a problem.

An underlying cause according to the study is that HR executives believe that despite the ongoing war for talent,they are more capable of attracting and retaining talent than their competitors. Almost 60 per cent of HR executives surveyed feel they attract and retain talent better than their peers, while only 10 percent state they are less effective.