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Leadership Development > Talent Acquisition

Four Things Great Companies Do To Develop Their Leaders

For the sixth year in a row, Hay Group released the results of its Best Companies for Leadership study, naming General Electric the top company for leadership worldwide.  Proctor & Gamble, Intel, Siemens, Banco Santander, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Accenture, Walmart and Southwest rounded out the top 10.

What exactly does ‘great for leadership’ mean? In a nutshell, the companies on this list actively promote and support leadership development throughout all levels of the organization, providing extensive training, education and mentoring programs – as well as viable work/life options.

Notice how the top companies for leadership also happen to be leaders in their industries as well? That’s no coincidence – their leadership and development initiatives benefit the bottom line just as much as they benefit the individual employees.  Hay Group’s research finds that these companies owe much of their long-time success and sustainability to “attracting and developing leaders who can collaborate, inspire and lead,” according to the group’s website.

Leading the Way: Four Characteristics that Define a Great Company for Leadership
For more specific examples of what defines a company that’s great for leadership, check out the list below of the characteristics that define these companies – according to Hay Group’s official study – and how various companies on the list embody these characteristics:

1. Diversity is Valued as a Business Asset.
Diversity and inclusiveness is central to General Electric’s mission, with affinity networks and employee groups geared specifically toward minorities, women and veterans, among other groups. Proctor and Gamble has a U.S. Diversity Recruiting Team in place to ensure “consistent and continuous representation in the leadership networks in order to provide the best sourcing pipeline available” Siemens’ management training programs are specifically designed to teach managers “how to effectively leverage and develop the talents of our employees across the entire spectrum of similarities and differences.” The company also keeps the conversation on diversity alive across the the company with its blog, DiversityTalk@SiemensUSA. And as part of its diversity commitment, FedEx encourages employees to get involved with community service and volunteer initiatives, an effort furthered by its partnerships with such organizations as the American Red Cross, United Way, NAACP, and the Special Olympics.

2. Effective Leaders are Increasingly Collaborators.
According to the study, companies that are great for leadership have programs in place “designed to develop leaders who can creatively bring together resources across different parts of this organization.” Such is the case at Southwest, where employees can spend a day on the job of another employee if they’re interested in another department or position at the company, and its Manager in Training Program is designed to identify and develop leaders. In addition to internal communities and networking events, Accenture ensures collaboration between leaders and employees with its mentoring program. And with its Performance and Development Planning program, Unilever encourages employees to take responsibility for the next step of their careers as they maintain an ongoing dialogue with their managers for feedback and guidance.  According to Pfizer’s career page, “each individual contributes to Pfizer’s scientific medical and business leadership possible.”  The company’s interactive “It Begins With Me” website highlights the ways in which employees are collaborating in order to accomplish this mission.

3. Leadership Development is a Continuous Priority.
General Electric
claims to invest more than $1 billion annual on training and educational opportunities, including its Masters and MBA Leadership program to further their careers, and the Undergraduate Leadership program, which combines “responsible and important job assignments with formal classroom studies,” according to GE’s website. Intel employees can attend Intel University for nearly every learning need – from developing management abilities to improving computing skills, to enhancing personal organization. Employees also have anytime-access to an entire library of professional development books.  McDonald’s Corporation is the only restaurant organization that awards college credits from the American Council on Education, and its Hamburger University teaches in a total of 28 languages, including Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Mandarin.

4. Work-Life Balance is Encouraged.
employees enjoy a slew of flexible work options, such as compressed workweeks, alternate work schedules, telecommuting and part-time and job share opportunities.  Not to mention various transportation opportunities like rideshare and shuttles to take the stress out of getting to and from the office.  And with childcare and eldercare benefits, employees are still able to put family first. In addition to easier travel options with free flights, Southwest employees can share certain flight privileges with friends and families as part of the company’s Buddy Pass program. PepsiCo counts an employee assistance program, adoption assistance, family leave, an auto and home insurance program and service awards among its work/life benefits.

But again, these are just a few of the many examples as to what makes these companies great for leadership.  To see Hay Group’s full list of winners and methodology, go here.

Where does your company fit in with these categories? Share!

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.

Leadership development at the self check out is one new language a year on average.

Hows that for 'true ELECTRONIC LEADERSHIP?'

Where is your new language America?

Not likely.


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