The RBL Group in partnership with Aon Hewitt and Fortune magazine has just released the latest version of their “Top Companies for Leaders” study. Every few years since 2002 this study has been conducted to look at the talent management practices of the best companies around the world across hundreds of data points.Top Companies for Leaders

470 companies completed a detailed questionnaire for this study. These were analyzed and hundreds of interviews were then conducted with senior executives. A panel of judges chose the top 25 companies for leaders. The top four were:

  1. IBM
  2. General Mills
  3. Procter & Gamble, and
  4. Aditya Birla Management Corp.

Here’s one of the key findings:

“Nearly 85 percent of Top Companies say their leaders can explain how the investment in leadership affects financial performance, while only 54 percent of all other companies in the study can say the same. In fact, 92 percent of Top Companies say their stakeholders understand how their leadership strategy creates value, compared to just 78 percent of all other organizations in the study.”

Clearly these top companies see leadership development as a critical competitive edge. RBL Group calls it their “leadership brand.” At Top Companies:

1.     “Leaders know external stakeholder expectations:

    • Top Companies are two to three times more likely to include customer and investor perspectives in their development curriculum than other companies.

2.     Leaders are expected to be what external stakeholders expect:

    • Competency models of Top Companies include customer and investor expectations.

3.     Leaders must do the right things to generate confidence:

    • Top Companies report stronger reputation for leadership with external stakeholders than other companies.”

The report’s central focus is on “six key elements to create a strong Leadership Brand:”

  1. “Top Companies have linked the need for leadership to their ability to deliver results now and in the future.
  2. Top Companies have a defined competency model that describes a unified theory of what leaders at their organization should know, be, and do. And they use their competency models in all phases of talent and leadership development.
  3. Top Companies assess both individual and organizational skills and experiences, evaluate the gaps, and create plans to close them.
  4. Top Companies invest to acquire, develop, promote, and retain critical talent more effectively and more broadly than other companies. They focus on a few simple ideas and programs that are well executed.
  5. Top Companies are more likely to have business-based measures for the organization and to hold leaders accountable for developing leadership capability, gauge progress on leadership initiatives, and assess risk and vulnerabilities.
  6. Top Companies are more intentional about building a brand or promoting their reputation around talent and leadership.”

There’s more rich detail in this practical and instructive study. Click on “Top Companies for Leaders” to read the research report.