Canadian Orgs Lack Confidence in Leaders’ Ability to Drive Success

September 19, 2011 ( – The 2011 Canadian Talent Survey by Aon Hewitt found many organizations doubt their leaders’ ability to meet the challenges of today’s post-recession environment.  

The survey results found leaders play a vital role in delivering desired customer service (53%), meeting business goals (40%) and profitability targets (40%), and retaining talent (35%). However, only 14% believe their leaders are extremely effective at delivering quality service, while their ability to meet business goals and profitability targets is ranked at 8% and 10%, respectively. As for retaining talent, just 5% rated their leaders as extremely effective.

“This crisis in confidence regarding leadership effectiveness does not bode well for the future success of some organizations,” said Robert Carlyle, Vice President with Aon Hewitt in Toronto, in a press release. “Now that the Canadian economy is recovering, survey respondents named employee engagement as their primary post-recession business concern, followed by the retention of top talent. If leaders aren’t able to keep pace with shifting demands, they run the risk of losing key employees to competitors.”

In addition, the Canadian Talent Survey revealed that 39% of respondents are planning to hire more employees in 2011 than they did in 2010, and only 13% expect to hire fewer employees this year than they did last year. However, just 24% of organizations believe they are very or extremely effective at hiring quality employees. Half of the responding organizations say they are effective at securing quality hires, and 26% think they are only somewhat effective or not at all effective at hiring quality workers.

Aon Hewitt surveyed 386 organizations nationwide this year, receiving responses from all levels of employees, ranging from top executives to support staff. The majority of respondents were either directors (32%) or managers (30%), primarily in human resources roles.

According to Aon Hewitt, one of the reasons for this poor perspective on organizations’ ability to effectively hire quality employees is due to the fact that many HR departments lack recruiting resources to process and screen the large number of candidates applying for positions. Forty percent of respondents state that it is very or extremely important for them to fill positions faster, while only 17% think that they are very or extremely effective in doing so.

“Improving the hiring process is critical if employers are planning to ramp up their number of new hires,” said Carlyle. “We are seeing organizations focus on improving the candidate experience, upgrading selection and assessment approaches that will yield increased performance from new hires, and redesigning the on- boarding process.”

The survey results reveal additional information regarding Canadian employers’ hiring plans:

  • Just over half (51%) of respondents agree or strongly agree that they have a stated HR strategy 
and plan.
  • When recruiting entry-level employees, the three sources that organizations rely on the most are 
employee referrals, job boards and unsolicited applications received through the company Web site. For more experienced hires, employers again turn to employee referrals and job boards, but also look to agencies for help in finding candidates.
  • According to 28% of respondents, it is not important for their organization to leverage social media for recruitment. That’s just as well, given that 38% believe their employer is ineffective in leveraging social media for this purpose.