Is your leadership pipeline fit for the future?

Although 9 out of 10 business and HR professionals say that leadership is an important issue, the leadership gap continues to grow globally. In the past year, organisations fell even further behind in developing the necessary capabilities – both short and long term. In fact, only 6% of companies believe that their leadership pipeline is “very ready” for the future.

These are some of the findings of Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report. Based on the input of more than 3300 business and HR leaders from 106 countries around the world, it found that leadership has remained one of the greatest corporate challenges – for the third consecutive year. So why are businesses struggling to address this important talent issue?

Leadership development = luxury? 

According to the report, development initiatives are often limited to only a few. Less than half of C-suite executives felt they received any development, while only 6% of survey respondents said they had “excellent” programmes for Millennials. What’s more, leadership development is frequently seen as a luxury instead of an ongoing strategic initiative requiring a long-term view and consistent investment. The result? A lack of good leadership across different levels ultimately impacting an organisation’s ability to reach its objectives.

So, as an HR professional how can you start transforming leadership development into a strategically-important business driver? Here are five suggestions taken from the latest report:

Get buy-in from the top: Actively engage top executives to ensure their support for long-term investment in leadership development throughout the organisation.

Think about today and tomorrow: Based on your company’s strategic goals, build a capability framework for selecting, assessing and developing leaders in the short and long term.

Development across all levels: Development shouldn’t just be focused on top management. Make sure your company also caters to the needs of mid- and first-level managers who will be moving up in the organisation.

Make it a priority: Encourage and reward leaders for developing successors and sharing talent. This is a practical way to close the leadership gap and ensure a strong pipeline of future leaders.

Create new leadership experiences: Working together with other companies, universities and non-governmental organisations will enable you to extend your corporate perspective and create valuable possibilities to gain further experience. This includes opportunities to build skills through corporate social investment projects or by sharing skills and advice free of charge.

Strong and committed leaders drive strategies, inspire employees to give their best and ensure goals are achieved. Without a pipeline of leaders, companies may be incapable of maintaining their competitive edge and risk falling behind. By making leadership development a top priority and striving to close the gap by constantly building your leadership pipeline, you can help to ensure your organisation is well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.