Execs concerned about leadership shortages: Deloitte

Many rank development of leaders, succession planning as top talent priority
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/16/2012

Many executives foresee leadership shortages in the year ahead and are looking at programs to accelerate leadership development within their companies, according to a report from Deloitte.

About one-third (30 per cent) of executives ranked developing leaders and succession planning as today’s top talent priority — the highest of any response in the survey of 376 senior executives and talent managers worldwide. Additionally, 29 per cent predicted this specific issue will likely remain the top talent concern over the next three years.

“The standout findings from our research are twofold: The near universal agreement about the existing and potentially growing shortage of executive leadership and the significant regional differences in talent needs around the globe,” said Alice Kwan, a principal at Deloitte Consulting and talent services leader. “Talent leaders in today’s business environment are taking responsibility for their futures by focusing investments and capabilities on rebuilding and developing new talent programs for leaders and critical employees within their organizations.”

Key findings in Deloitte’s Talent Edge 2020: Redrafting Talent Strategies for the Uneven Recovery include:

Companies seek new sources of growth in a stalled economy: In a ranking of top strategic priorities, 38 per cent of executives picked improving top- and bottom-line performance, followed by expanding into global and new markets at 33 per cent.

As talent demands expand globally, pressure is building to create talent strategies that can both scale (for size and efficiency) and focus on regional markets: Asia Pacific executives face urgent needs with significant shortages anticipated in research and development (68 per cent), operations (64 per cent) and strategy and planning (62 per cent). Survey participants in the Americas see executive leadership and operations as the main talent gaps (both 56 per cent), while business leaders in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region are far less concerned about shortfalls in talent.

Corporate talent programs are falling short on performance and investment: Only 17 per cent of executives surveyed believe their talent programs are “world-class across the board;” 83 per cent acknowledge significant improvements need to be made at their organizations. Executives who regard their talent efforts world-class are more likely to report — by margins of 20 percentage points or more — their companies are investing in these programs at a high level.

Executives are aligning their talent management practices to identify and develop new leaders, create effective succession plans and build global workforces, found Deloitte’s survey. Most executives said performance management (73 per cent), talent assessment (72 per cent) and high-potential employee development (71 per cent) are core talent priorities that will increase over the next 12 months.

These priorities clearly dominate new hiring initiatives across the board, including the hiring of experienced managers, new campus hires and contract or part-time workers — a data point consistent with the high levels of unemployment in developed countries worldwide, said Deloitte.

“Ultimately, building leading talent programs requires investment,” said Kwan. “Our research confirms that while less than one in five surveyed executives self-identified their organizations as talent leaders, more than four in five acknowledge the need for significant improvements and investments. Today’s top talent organizations are not sitting back and waiting for a slow recovery to solve their talent challenges. These executives are more likely to invest (by a two to one margin) across the board on talent priorities and initiatives.”

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