Korn Ferry Hay Group Study Points to Dissatisfaction with Leadership Development Efforts and Leaders’ Ability to Drive Strategic Change

- Leaders Say They Would Throw Away Half of their Current Leadership Development Approach
- More than Half Rank Leadership Development ROI as Fair to Very Poor

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A recent analysis of responses by U.S. business and HR leaders to a comprehensive global study by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) shows a critical need to improve leadership development initiatives.

U.S. respondents made up nearly one third of the 7,500 global respondents, and their answers generally mirrored responses from other parts of the world.

The largest percentage of U.S. respondents said their most important leadership development priority was developing leaders to drive strategic change. However, only 17 percent said they were confident they had the right leadership capabilities in place to execute their strategy, and only 18 percent were confident that their leadership team demonstrated the behaviors needed to successfully deliver on strategic business priorities.

“The best thought-out business strategy will fail miserably if the leaders within an organization don’t have the skills to make it come to fruition,” said Dennis Baltzley, Senior Client Partner and Global Head of Leadership Development Solutions, Korn Ferry Hay Group. “Effective leadership development is the key to helping leaders have the right knowledge and experiences necessary to drive change.”

Survey respondents in the United States voiced their dissatisfaction with the outcomes of their leadership development programs, with 53 percent ranking their leadership development ROI as only fair to very poor. Also, when asked if they were able to completely start over with leadership development programming, 55 percent of respondents said that they would throw out at least half of their current approach in pursuit of improved outcomes.

“Many leadership development initiatives fail because they are simply a series of programs instead of a comprehensive approach that ties directly back into the business strategy,” said Stu Crandell, Senior Vice President, Korn Ferry Institute. “We not only focus on the whole person (competencies, experiences, traits and drivers), but also leverage real strategic goals and applicable, on-the-job challenges to augment the relevance and impact of the development journey for individuals, their teams and organizations.”

In the study, the vast majority (87 percent) of U.S. respondents said that connecting leadership development with social responsibility efforts positively impacts their company’s overall engagement and performance.

“A growing number of people across all levels want to work for an organization that is aligned with their values and committed to serving the world in a positive way,” said Baltzley. “Linking leadership development to social responsibility helps the individual, the organization and the greater good.”

The study also found that executives may be their own biggest barrier to achieving leadership development success. Respondents, many of whom were executives, cited a lack of executive sponsorship as the largest barrier to successful implementation of leadership development programs.

“We understand that executives are incredibly busy with business issues, but a focus on development – for themselves and for emerging leaders across their organization – is how successful implementation of organizational strategy can be realized,” said Crandell.

About the Study

Korn Ferry commissioned a comprehensive, global executive survey of views on leadership development in July and August of 2015. The survey generated more than 7,500 responses from 107 countries, with 2,480 coming from the United States.

The Real World Leadership North America Edition of this research can be found at www.kornferry.com/real-world-leadership.

Select Key U.S. Findings

1. Do you have the right leadership capabilities in place to execute on your organization’s strategic business priorities?

    -- Definitely yes       17 percent
-- Somewhat yes 54 percent
-- Unsure 11 percent
-- Somewhat no 13 percent
-- Definitely no 5 percent

2. Does your leadership team demonstrate the leadership behaviors needed for your organization to successfully deliver on its strategic business priorities?

    -- Definitely yes       18 percent
-- Somewhat yes 55 percent
-- Unsure 8 percent
-- Somewhat no 15 percent
-- Definitely no 4 percent

3. Does your organization leverage its corporate and social responsibility agenda to develop leaders?

    -- Definitely yes       23 percent
-- Somewhat yes 37 percent
-- Somewhat not 27 percent
-- Definitely not 13 percent

4. To what extent as leveraging corporate and social responsibility agendas impacted your company’s overall engagement and performance?

    -- A lot                       27 percent
-- Some 60 percent
-- Little 12 percent
-- None 1 percent

5. How would you describe your return on leadership development?

    -- Very Good               12 percent
-- Good 35 percent
-- Fair 39 percent
-- Poor 11 percent
-- Very poor 3 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations, and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep divisions. Visit kornferry.com for more information.

Korn Ferry
Tracy Kurschner, 612-309-3957

Source: Korn Ferry