The top companies for developing leaders build innovation and idea-sharing into their corporate systems. This, according to the seventh annual Best Companies for Leadership Study, released today by the Philadelphia-based Hay Group. (Here’s a release from Business Wire about the study, and here are the top 20 companies, with General Electric and Procter & Gamble topping the list.)
According to Hay’s study, the Best Companies for Leadership create workplace environments and processes that enable innovation to thrive. In fact, 90 percent of the top 20 report that, if individuals have excellent ideas, they can bypass the chain of command without the threat of negative consequences, compared to only 63 percent of other companies.
“Many companies prize innovation,” says Rick Lash, director in Hay Group’s Leadership and Talent practice, “but the Best Companies for Leadership approach it in a disciplined way by building agile organizations, promoting collaboration, celebrating successes, learning from setbacks and fostering a culture that encourages a passion for innovation throughout the organization.”
To do that, they “train and develop their people, celebrate diversity [and] reward collaboration …,” says Susan Snyder, a senior principal in the practice and co-leader, along with Lash, of the study.
Their announcement got me thinking about a news analysis I’m currently working on (to be posted on HREOnline™ in the near future) tied to this global study by New York-based Towers Watson on what makes companies succeed in organizational change management. (Here’s Towers Watson’s press release about the study.)
The study finds nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of companies with the best change-management outcomes follow a formal, systematic process, compared with just 14 percent of companies that just can’t seem to get it right.
Also, 45 percent of respondents in the Towers Watson study (604 organizations worldwide) with high change effectiveness have staffs dedicated to change-management efforts, versus just 16 percent of those with low effectiveness. Seventy-six percent of the former also set measurable goals for the imapct of changes and 73 percent measure their progress against their goals.
I’ll be interviewing a few folks later this week about more of the specifics that companies are doing, and should be doing, around change management. But for now, based on both sets of findings, I think it’s safe to say that, if you want to get the really big HR goals right (leadership development, innovation, change mangagement, talent management … you know the list better than me), you can’t just talk about them, or go to conferences and hear about them, or complain to the executive team about their absences from your organization.
You have to have clearly defined and well-designed structures and disciplines to make them happen. You have to assign staffs to them. And make sure you’re measuring them, too.