Critical leadership gaps a cause for concern

by Cameron Edmond05 Jun 2013

The rapid changes that continue to affect the business world are often touted as a positive, but business leaders and HR professionals who aren’t keeping up could be looking at an uneasy future.

A recent survey from Right Management found that employers in Australia are both unprepared and unaware of critical leadership needs that they may face in the future.

The survey, which covered 2,000 senior HR executives spanning 14 countries, found only 22% of Australian organisations had a ‘talent pipeline’ to cover future needs, with just 18% concerned with their lack of potential leaders. Additionally, 45.5% stated talent shortages were rampant throughout their organisation.

With the world of business shifting at an alarming rate, the need to have durable systems in place is vital for any organisation. “Business leaders and HR professionals need to evaluate their talent needs more closely to gain a realistic understanding of future talent gaps,” Rosemarie Dentesano, regional practical leader of talent management at Right Management, said.

“In a climate of economic uncertainty, business leaders need to establish a pipeline of high potential talent who hold the skills needed to deliver long term business growth,” Dentesano said, adding that HR professionals and organisational leaders should be collaborating to ensure changes in business are adequately addressed.

Similar issues have been raised by Deb Loveridge, managing director of Asia Pacific, Randstad, who voiced a concern over the lack of effective workforce planning being undertaken in most organisations. Randstad research suggests almost half of employers don’t plan their workforce a year in advance — and just 13% plan for a two-year period. “A more robust, inclusive and long-term approach to workforce planning can ensure organisations have the right skills in the pipeline,” she stated. “A meaningful workforce planning process should follow best practice, align with company strategy, and engage business leaders and employees at all levels.”

The development of longer-term talent plans will help organisations survive the uncertain changes and secure their place in the business world of the future. “Once leaders have the right people in the right jobs, organisations will be able to meet the ongoing challenges of today’s uncertain economic climate,” Dentesano said.


HR Take-aways

Randstad has provided their top 5 tips for improving workforce planning in your organisation:

  1. Put a project team together to review your workforce plan. Include managers and employees at all levels — particularly those whose functions will be critical to your future success.
  2. Assess the current strategic position of your organisation. Include factors such as the size and diversity of your workforce, your business goals, any long-term plans for expansion or diversification, and location-specific circumstances.
  3. Consider the experience, knowledge, skills and capability required for the successful and smooth functioning of your organisation in pursuit of your goals.
  4. Remember to consider the broader political, economic, social and technological environment your organisation may need to succeed within 5–10 years from now. For example, employment regulation, the number of women in senior roles and outsourcing of HR services, are all likely to increase during this time.
  5. Integrate workforce planning into your core strategic planning process, and ensure clear action plans are established to measure and review progress.


  • by Max Underhill 6/06/2013 6:02:07 PM

    There is an interesting article in the June edition of Retail World Magazine where 19 senior managers were assessed and it was found that only 2 out of 19 were competent. The largest gap was close to 20% and the average at around 10% "under powered". If you cannot access a copy I am happy to forward you a copy of the case study.

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