Lack of leadership raises concerns

With concerns rising over gaps in the workforce, Kiwi businesses are being urged to address holes in their leadership pipelines.

Lack of leadership raises concerns
Organisations have indicated increasing anxiety over gaps in their leadership pipeline with 64% concerned about the number of talented middle managers, and 63% worried about the number of potential executive successors, according to Randstad’s World of Work research.

Paul Robinson, New Zealand Director of recruitment & HR services specialist, Randstad, stated that businesses need to address the gaps in their leadership pipeline early if they plan to keep pace with the market.

“It’s interesting that so many businesses are entering the New Year with questions hanging over pivotal drivers of their workforce. With the economy and business conditions starting to stabilise, employers hoping to grow or innovate in 2014 need to address these concerns immediately if they want to keep pace,” he said.

“Organisations can’t effectively plan for the year ahead, let alone the next five years, if the right people aren’t in place. Identifying and attracting high performing employees and placing them in the right roles, especially in key leadership positions, will be critical in the early stages of 2014.”

Despite organisations indicating concerns over the lack of leader candidates, the research shows that the immediate hiring intentions from Kiwi employers does not reflect the skills they need to imbed within their organisation in the next five years.

When asked about hiring intentions for the next 12 months, 57% of businesses stated they intend to attract skilled workers, while 45% intended to hire technical workers and 28% stated they needed lower-lever task employees. However, the skills employers believe will be most important in five years are leadership skills (34%) and innovation skills (18%).

Organisations need to match their long-term strategies to their more immediate hiring plans, according to Robinson

“While hiring for today is undoubtedly important, it’s vital businesses look to their longer term plans and ensure their HR and hiring strategies reflect these needs,” he said. “Training and development strategies are of course important, as is attracting employees with the skills, expertise and attitude to help achieve long-term workforce needs. It’s important these talent strategy game-changers are reflected in your overall business plans and that HR has a seat at the boardroom table. Otherwise it’s unlikely you’ll have the right people and the right teams you need in five years’ time.”

The research, however, did reveal that many businesses have realised the seriousness of the situation and developed programs to help fill gaps in their leadership pipelines.

Almost half of local employers (48%) have developed talent management programs to identify high-potential employees, while 45% have instigated programs to fast-track future leaders and 39% have structured their remuneration and reward programs to attract high potential talent.

Key Takeaways:
To cultivate leadership success across an organisations try this five pronged approach:

1.  Identify the behaviours and skills which make a successful leader in your organisation.
2.  Have a full picture of the leadership potential across your organisation. Don’t restrict that view to only those you think have high potential or rely on “gut feel”.
3.  Use scientific data to benchmark employee skills against competitor talent and identify leadership shortages to avoid succession risk.
4.  Focus on HR strategies that effectively spend training and development budgets and apply this across the business.
5.  Take a global view of where your leadership talent is located and be prepared to use creative strategies to source talent across borders to fill leadership gaps.

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