Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning From the Best

The Hay Group conducts an annual survey on the best companies in the world for leadership. They ask employees for their views on their own company and ask them to rate 3 companies they admire most for leadership. The top 20 is a compilation of ‘praise from outsiders combined with plenty of admiration from within.’

Once the top 20 and regional groups have been identified, each of the elite group our analysed as to their leadership practices and key differentiators highlighted (the biggest gaps between the ‘elite’ group and the rest). The 2011 study was headed up by such companies as GE, P&G, PepsiCo and Southwest Airlines.

These companies were better than the rest in a number of different areas but in particular they distinguish themselves in four particular areas.

Firstly, the top 20 companies expect people at all levels to exercise leadership and bring value to the organisation.  This is at two levels – at the individual and at the organisational level. Firstly, individuals feel they have the opportunity to develop and practice leadership capabilities. At the organisational level the business takes and adopts views and ideas from across the entire organisation, not just from headquarters.

Secondly, the top 20 companies ensure they have a workforce which reflects their markets and local communities – they don’t fear other cultures but embrace them. For instance, they are more likely to recruit local leaders to manage local offices rather than send out headquarters staff. Diversity is increasingly high on the agenda for the best companies because they know that 55.1% of the world’s talent comes from south east Asia and only 17% of further educated people are white males.

Thirdly, the top 20 companies have leadership programmes in place to help managers adapt to change and to manage cross culturally. These companies are moving more quickly than others to flatten their business structures and diversify their workforces with the goal of improving their efficiency and competitive advantage in markets around the world. But most importantly they are providing the skills and tools to help their leaders to succeed in these different markets.

Fourthly, the top 20 shows a greater interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) than other companies. But this is not all about being altruistic. The top 20 recognise that helping employees achieve greater work-life balance is a critical retention strategy.

How many organisations do you work with today who are really embracing global issues and diversity in the way that these respected companies are.

Some other notable facts from the survey:

90% of the best companies expect employees to lead regardless of their position
100% of Europe’s top 10 companies prioritize work/life balance
Only 9% of Europe’s top 10 use higher pay and bonus opportunities to attract leaders

Food for thought!

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