An Aon Consulting news release said its 2008 Benefits & Talent Survey of more than 1,100 organizations found that 56% of employers are feeling the pinch of the leadership shortfall, and 31% expect to be in that position within four years. Hit hardest are employers in health care (62%), professional services (58%), and manufacturing (57%).
The announcement said 58% of respondents reported that workforce planning in light of demographic shifts and talent shortages is very important or extremely important, but only 21% of employers believe they have been successful in dealing with this pressing issue.
That lack of confidence in being able to successfully deal with a leadership shortfall seemed particularly acute in the health care industry where workforce planning in light of demographic shifts and talent shortages is very important or extremely important to 63% of employers, but only 19% say they are very effective or extremely effective at delivering this solution.
The survey also found organizations nationwide deem very important or extremely important the ability to meet the talent/skill needs at the senior leadership level (89%); talent recruitment and selection (89%); and talent management and succession planning (73%). However, employers are less successful at delivering these initiatives. The survey found employers are very effective or extremely effective in their ability to meet talent/skill needs at the senior leadership level (54%); talent recruitment and selection (43%); and talent management and succession planning (19%).
“It is clear that employers understand the imperative to develop next-generation leadership skills in their workforce, but few have developed effective strategies to alleviate the impending talent risk to their organizations,” said Cindy Keaveney, executive vice president with Aon Consulting and co-leader of the Human Capital Consulting practice, in the news release.
One way to help bolster the leadership pipeline is through effective recruitment strategies, but the survey found hiring practices among employers could be more aggressive. For hard-to-fill positions, 33% of employers continuously recruit to establish a pool of candidates, but the majority of employers (52%) recruit applicants only when positions become open.
The survey also found that over the last two years when organizations were not successful in hiring their top recruits, 36% of respondents said it was because these top candidates go elsewhere for pay they perceive as higher. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they do hire the majority of their top recruits.
Implementing an effective communications strategy also plays a role in retaining senior leaders and other employees. More than 70% of survey respondents provide both intranet and hard copy communications on benefits, human resources and the organization.
According to 47% of employers, one of the top issues to communicate is total compensation and rewards, and 35% of employers offer annual total compensation and rewards statements to their employees in print only. Thirty-seven percent of organizations do not offer the communication currently.