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Hay Group Identifies Best Companies for Leadership in Ninth Annual Study

Top Companies Place More Emphasis on Diversity, Create Varied Paths to Leadership

PHILADELPHIA - Wednesday, November 5th 2014 [ME NewsWire]

(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Hay Group, the global management consulting firm, today released its ninth annual Best Companies for Leadership Study and Top 20 list. The study ranks the best companies for leadership around the globe and examines how those companies build and accelerate the development of great leaders. For the second consecutive year, Procter & Gamble topped the list, followed by General Electric, Coca-Cola and IBM.

According to Hay Group's study, the Best Companies for Leadership take a determined and disciplined approach to helping leaders develop and rise within their organizations. A key finding from this year’s study was that 80 percent of the Top 20 companies had established clear career paths for their employees, compared to only 48 percent of all other companies. Similarly, 80 percent of the Top 20 were well ahead of their peer groups by providing career development experiences for their organization’s highest potentials, ensuring the company has the right people with the right skills when needed to fill their most critical roles.

“This year’s research shows that the world’s leading organizations are purposefully developing leaders who will be able to drive innovation and transform their organizations,” said Ruth Malloy, global managing director of Hay Group's Leadership and Talent practice and co-leader of the Best Companies for Leadership Study. “These best-in-class organizations are providing non-traditional, more diverse, career paths and training high-potential employees to meet specific business challenges and develop the skills required to help their organizations succeed in today's increasingly volatile, global environment.”

Not only do the Top 20 companies provide clearly defined and varied routes to leadership, they also intentionally seek to develop diverse leaders. Half of the Top 20 offer special leadership development programs for women, compared to 13 percent of all other companies, and 40 percent of the Top 20 have programs geared toward diverse groups, compared to only 11 percent of all other companies. Top companies also tend to make leadership development programs available at all experience levels (83 percent compared to 57 percent). Correspondingly, the Top 20 are more likely to report diversity among their senior ranks, with 68 percent (compared to 53 percent of all other companies) indicating the diversity of their senior leadership reflects the diversity of their employees.

Purpose-Built Leaders

At the Top 20 companies, flexibility to respond to economic changes was identified as a top challenge for leaders over the next 12 months, along with the ability to capitalize on opportunities within emerging markets.

Surprisingly, in an era where organizations are increasingly turning to online learning, the Top 20 companies are leveraging high touch methods. Classroom-based leadership training still remains the preferred method among the Top 20 firms (used by 74 percent of the Top 20 vs. 51 percent of all other companies), with mentoring by senior staff and coaching from internal resources also highly prioritized (69 percent and 61 percent, vs. 41 percent and 34 percent, respectively).

“Outstanding companies are recognizing that developing strategic, globally connected leaders for the future means they have to make investments to bring leaders together to learn as a community, while using the very best technologies to connect people globally and bring learning back to their teams and organizations,” said Rick Lash, director in Hay Group's Leadership and Talent practice and co-leader of the Best Companies for Leadership Study. “They’re taking a very hands-on structured approach to cultivating these individuals’ talents and traits. As business challenges grow more complex, we’re seeing the rise of the purpose-built leader.”

Other major findings from Hay Group’s Best Companies for Leadership Study include:

The Best Companies actively manage top talent pipelines.

Top 20

All Other Companies

Actively manages a pool of successors for mission critical roles

84 percent

50 percent

Uses a formal talent review and planning process to fill leadership positions

90 percent

56 percent

A sufficient number of qualified internal candidates are ready to assume open leadership positions at all levels.

70 percent

44 percent

Organization identifies certain individuals as high-potentials for future leadership roles

93 percent

67 percent

Big or important roles are usually filled by promoting from within the organization

85 percent

63 percent

The Best Companies continue to focus on preparing leaders to work in a globalized environment.

Top 20

All Other Companies

Appreciation of global issues is a key job requirement

80 percent

48 percent

The organization provides support or training to help people work and collaborate across geographical borders

83 percent

55 percent

Leaders are culturally savvy and have the skills to work effectively with diverse teams

83 percent

61 percent

The organization provides support or training on how to collaborate across organizational boundaries

84 percent

63 percent

For more information on Hay Group’s Best Companies for Leadership, please visit the microsite, or join the conversation about #BCLeaders on Twitter at

To arrange an interview with Ruth Malloy or Rick Lash, please contact Evan Stisser at (212) 221-4616 or

About Hay Group’s Best Companies for Leadership Study

Hay Group has researched the Best Companies for Leadership since 2005. This year’s survey includes responses from nearly 18,000 individuals at more than 2,100 organizations worldwide. The survey was based on the organization’s response to an online questionnaire and peer nominations. Respondents who completed the survey were from 115 countries, with 6 percent from North America, 35 percent from Europe, 2 percent from the Middle East/Africa, 27 percent from Asia/Pacific and 29 percent from Latin America. To see the Top 20 list from 2005 through 2014, please visit the Best Companies for Leadership microsite.

About Hay Group

Hay Group is a global consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. We develop talent, organize people to be more effective, and motivate them to perform at their best. With 86 offices in 48 countries, we work with over 8,000 clients across the world. Our clients are from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors across every major industry, and they represent diverse business challenges. Our focus is on making change happen and helping people and organizations realize their potential.


For Hay Group

Evan Stisser,







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