Finding the Best Companies for Leadership
Now in its seventh year, the Best Companies for Leadership study has a simple, single-minded purpose. We aim to identify which organizations have the best leadership practices, then see what we can learn from them.
Our 2011 study confirmed more strongly than ever that Best Companies for Leadership are better positioned now and in the future. They are nearly 40 percent more likely than peers to create the motivating climates which are proven to drive success. And they actively nurture leadership behaviors and have a ready pool of successors for critical roles.
But the standout theme this year was excellence at innovation. Hay Group research shows that the business world is at a pivot point today. A collision of ‘megatrends’ is giving organizations no choice but to innovate in order to succeed.
Whether it’s minor tweaks to existing processes, or brand-new products and services, Best Companies for Leadership are on top of this situation. It’s because they create a culture of innovation with practices that allow it to flourish:
- 90% design roles to be flexible enough to respond to immediate projects vs 65% of peers
- 94% are prepared to run unprofitable projects to try new things. Only 49% of all other respondents will do this
- 90% of Best Companies for Leadership let employees bypass the chain of command with an excellent idea, a practice that only 63% of peers tolerate
- They know collaboration is important and reward it accordingly. 100% take action when a leader is not collaborating vs 59% of peers
- And they see setbacks as learning opportunities. 95% see difficulties this way, compared to 50% of peers
How we compile the Best Companies for Leadership report
Each year, we ask qualified employees from around the world to rate their own organization’s leadership practices. Then we ask them to nominate the three firms they admire most for leadership. We compile our ‘top 20’ list based on qualified employee responses on behalf of their organization, combining responses from those self identified as ‘leaders’ and ‘employees’ to allow comparative perspectives on the same organization. We average the two group scores to arrive at the final ranking. We take a similar approach to regional ‘top 10’ lists, considering only responses from those in the region.
The companies that make it into this elite ranking are the ones that combine praise from outsiders with plenty of admiration from within. To round out our view of the best, we include factual information like a company’s ‘bench strength’ for key positions or how many other people are trying to hire its top people.
With the latest top 20 list decided, we then go on to examine just what it is that makes these organizations excel at leadership. Each year, we add questions to learn about specific issues.
This time we wanted to know what the top 20 are doing to encourage the innovation that’s needed to thrive in the face of powerful ‘megatrends’. We looked at the practices that allow innovation to flourish: organizational agility, collaboration, learning from setbacks, allowing ‘smart’ innovation and creating room for new ideas to be heard.
Who contributes to the survey?
We invite companies the world over to participate in the Best Companies for Leadership study. This year, we received completed surveys from 6,921 individuals, nearly doubling the 2010 response. The chart below illustrates the breakdown by region. This year’s strong representation from Latin American companies reflects the growing economic power of the region.