Leadership development becomes top HR priority for UK employers, survey finds
Employee engagement, which was the top HR priority from 2011 through to 2014, fell to third place. That is the result of a survey among HR professionals conducted by the Top Employers Institute in the UK, as part of their annual certification programme.
87% of the participating companies now have a leadership strategy in place. The 73 UK companies surveyed represent a total workforce of 1.1 million UK employees. The UK survey is part of a global HR Best Practices Survey by the Top Employers Institute, the results of which have been published today as the Leadership Development Report. Participating companies need to meet minimum criteria to achieve the Top Employers certification each year.
“In parallel to leadership development becoming the No. 1 priority, we see another emerging trend: the rise of use of technology to support HR programmes, including Leadership Development. We see that companies qualifying as Top Employers are investing in bespoke software to support their practices and to make initiatives easily accessible to employees”, said Eleanor Nickerson, Director of the UK Operations of the Top Employers Institute.
Despite this, UK Top Employers are behind the overall global top 100 organisations that achieved certification this year when it comes to the use of technology. 35% of the participating organisations in the UK have online coaching and mentoring tools in place to support their leadership development programmes. That is in line with the global average, but below the 100% of the 100 global top performing companies that make use of all the technologies available to them.
In the UK, online tools are mainly used for e-learning (92% of surveyed companies), 360-degree feedback (86%), and online self-assessment (82%). 59% of the participating companies in the UK have virtual collaboration tools in place to support their leadership development programmes, and 36% use virtual cases and simulations.
“We are seeing a different approach towards Leadership Development, with more opportunities to develop leadership qualities available to all levels across organisations. This enables employees to & lsquo;self-drive’ more, with Executives leading by example and heavily supporting this approach. A key trend of our survey is that the higher the Executive involvement, the more successful is a company in developing leadership. That is reflected in the increasing percentage of companies that have defined KPIs to measure and steer leadership development”, said Eleanor Nickerson.
71% of UK Top Employers have defined KPIs, compared to a 100% use of KPIs among the 100 global top performing companies.
“The selection of candidates for leadership development programmes has historically been focused on C-suite executives and high-potential employees, however our survey shows that high-performing organisations are making information on leadership development available to any manager who is interested in further developing his or her skills, something that sets them apart from low-performing organisations”, said David Plink, CEO of the Top Employers Institute.
Among companies that qualify as Top Employers, only 69% make information on leadership development freely available to all employers, so there is still untapped potential even among the best employers.
The Leadership Development Report is based on the findings of the Top Employers HR Best Practices Survey, surveying a sample size of 600 certified organisations in 99 countries with more than 3.000 employees each, representing several millions of employees. The full report and more HR insights can be found on www.HR-Insights.top-employers.com/leadership-development