Employers unhappy with leaders' ability to drive success

Ineffectiveness threatens employee attraction, retention: Aon Hewitt
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/23/2011

Many organizations doubt their leaders' ability to meet the challenges of today's post-recession environment, according to the 2011 Canadian Talent Survey released by Aon Hewitt.

Leaders play a vital role in delivering desired customer service (53 per cent), meeting business goals (40 per cent) and profitability targets (40 per cent), and retaining talent (35 per cent), found the survey of 386 organizations, with respondents made up largely of directors (32 per cent) or managers (30 per cent), primarily in HR roles.

However, only 14 per cent of respondents felt their leaders are extremely effective at delivering quality service, while their ability to meet business goals and profitability targets is ranked at eight per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. As for retaining talent, just five per cent rated their leaders as extremely effective.

"This crisis in confidence regarding leadership effectiveness does not bode well for the future success of some organizations," said Robert Carlyle, vice-president at Aon Hewitt in Toronto. "Now that the Canadian economy is recovering, survey respondents named employee engagement as their primary post-recession business concern, followed by the retention of top talent. If leaders aren't able to keep pace with shifting demands, they run the risk of losing key employees to competitors."

A focus on middle management is also important. "Leaders must invest in developing middle managers — they're the ones who can bridge the gap between leadership strategy and employee actions and can effect change," said Carlyle.

Hiring trends
In addition, 39 per cent of respondents are planning to hire more employees in 2011 than they did in 2010, while 13 per cent expect to hire fewer employees this year than they did last year.

However, just 24 per cent of organizations believe they are very or extremely effective at hiring quality employees while one-half are effective at securing quality hires and 26 per cent think they are only somewhat effective or not at all effective at hiring quality workers.

This may be because HR departments lack recruiting resources to process and screen the large number of candidates applying for positions, said Aon Hewitt. Forty per cent of respondents stated it is very or extremely important for them to fill positions faster, while only 17 per cent think that they are very or extremely effective in doing so.

"Improving the hiring process is critical if employers are planning to ramp up their number of new hires," said Carlyle. "We are seeing organizations 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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