Survey Reveals Focus on Executive Talent

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Survey Reveals Focus on Executive Talent

Category : 2008

Many companies are seeing current economic trends as an opportunity to enhance executive talent. According to a poll conducted by Leapfrog Executive Search, less than 20of senior HR leaders in the Southwest view rightsizing as their highest priority. The study revealed that many organizations are focusing on talent acquisition and development with an eye to the future.

The survey polled the top HR executive in companies with 1,000 or more employees. A broad base of industries was tapped, including the airline, healthcare, oil and gas, and banking and financial services sectors. The results were surprisingly consistent. When asked for their primary initiatives concerning executive talent, as directed by their CEO and Board, respondents identified key talent acquistion (22 more often than rightsizing (17. Nearly 50of all respondents indicated that talent development topped their list. Half of the talent development responses centered on succession planning.

Like many HR leaders, John Ryder, SVP of HR at Houston-based Champion Technologies, a chemical company in the oil and gas industry, faces a challenge equally as daunting as a tight economy … a tight talent pool of executives. “There is a shortage of experienced folks, in the industry, who are ready to move to the next step”, he commented. Jackie Wolf, EVP and CHRO at Comerica Bank, echoed Ryder, “We are looking at talent through 2012 to arrive at the right succession plans. Knowledge transfer is an important component of our future success.”

Companies are using several initiatives – talent acquistion key among them – to find their next generation of executives and to enable knowledge transfer. Ryder explained that Champion’s talent development efforts are inclusive of “acquisition, retention, and succession planning.” Ryder’s sentiments were shared by most of the HR leaders in the study; the shortage of executives prepared for the challenges ahead is producing an increasing focus on talent acquisition and development.

Jim Hess, founder and principal of Leapfrog Executive Search, noted that the current economic situation has heightened the opportunity to obtain and leverage executive talent. “There is an aggressive marketplace for talented performers as organizations look to fill and refresh their talent pipelines. Astute companies recognize that, in spite of economic uncertainty, opportunities exist to position themselves for near and long-term success through critical talent initiatives.”

The priority of executive talent acquistion and development is good news in an otherwise uncertain labor market.