U.S. leaders not meeting expectations: Survey

Achieving business goals, retaining talent among gaps
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/05/2011

Leaders play an important role in meeting business goals and other organizational objectives but there is a significant gap between their expectations and delivered results, according to a survey by Aon Hewitt.

The 2011 Talent Survey surveyed 1,328 employers across the United States and more than one-half of respondents said leaders play a vital role in meeting business goals and profitability targets. However, only 12 per cent of respondents said their leaders are extremely effective at meeting business goals and just 14 per cent said their leaders are extremely effective at meeting profitability targets.

"As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, company executives must develop new leadership skills in order to improve workforce productivity and stimulate engagement," said Amy Mills, vice-president of Aon Hewitt. "They also must invest in developing middle managers who can bridge the gap between leadership strategy and employee actions and are best positioned to effect change."

What’s more, 56 per cent of respondents said leaders play a big part in delivering service and 44 per said they are crucial for retaining talent. However, only 17 per cent said their leaders are extremely effective at delivering service and just seven per cent said their leaders are extremely effective at retaining talent.

To help reduce these gaps, organizations should focus on finding the most valuable talent, demonstrating speed and agility, developing middle management, increasing employee engagement and developing leadership resiliency, said Aon Hewitt.

Hiring trends

In addition, 45 per cent of respondents said they are planning to hire more employees in 2011 than they did in 2010, and only 16 per cent expect to hire fewer employees this year than they did last year, found the survey. However, just 28 per cent of respondents said they are very or extremely effective at hiring quality employees. Nearly one-half of these employers (51 per cent) said they are effective at securing quality hires and 21 per cent said they think they are only somewhat effective or not at all effective at hiring quality workers, found the survey.

"As employers begin ramping up the number of hires, this is a great opportunity to significantly improve the hiring process," said Jason Krumwiede, vice-president of Aon Hewitt. "We are seeing clients focus on improving the candidate experience, upgrading selection and assessment approaches that will yield increased performance from new hires, and redesigning the onboarding process."

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