Microsoft and Facebook Among Best Companies for Leadership

Companies with the best leaders are those that are able to focus on giving their customers a great product or service today while innovating for the future, new research shows.

The study, conducted by management consulting firm Hay Group, revealed that Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, General Electric and Coca-Cola top this year's Best Companies for Leadership rankings. The companies earned their rankings for being purposeful and strategic in developing, enabling and motivating leaders throughout the organization to do their best.

"To excel in today's highly complex and competitive business environment, the best companies are taking deliberate steps to develop and reward these competencies, to enable their organizations to achieve operational excellence today while driving innovation for tomorrow," said Ruth Malloy, global managing director of Hay Group's leadership and talent practice, and co-leader of the Best Companies for Leadership study.

Other companies in this year's top 20 include the following:

  • Unilever
  • IBM
  • Wal-Mart
  • McDonald's
  • Telefónica
  • Facebook
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • 3M
  • Nestle
  • Siemens
  • Oracle
  • Citigroup
  • Caterpillar
  • Toyota
  • Ford Motor Co.

The researchers found several characteristics that distinguished the top leadership employers from the rest of the pack. Nearly three-quarters of the top 20 companies reported giving everyone, at every level of the organization, the opportunity to develop and practice the capabilities needed to lead others, compared with only 47 percent of all other companies.

In addition, the top 20 leadership companies reported doing more to develop their population of new and midlevel managers, with significantly higher usage rates than the rest of the organizations of Web-based leadership modules, classroom-based leadership training and mentoring by a senior manager or executive.

The top companies for leadership are also doing more to foster cultures that encourage innovation. The study shows that 67 percent of the top 20 companies reward and stimulate cross-business-unit collaboration to develop new business lines, compared with only 54 percent of all other companies. They are also more likely to encourage employees to learn skills in areas outside their areas of expertise, and to recognize and reward employees for really new and different business ideas.

Looking ahead to the future was also a key differentiator. The research discovered that 78 percent of the top 20 leadership companies reported that their organization encourages employees to spend much time discussing customers' future needs, compared with only 55 percent of all other companies.

"In times of rapid change, many companies lose their focus, failing to adequately engage and enable their current workforces as the organizations shift to achieve short-term or immediate objectives," said Rick Lash, a director in Hay Group's leadership and talent practice and co-leader of the Best Companies for Leadership study. "Those companies that simultaneously execute on immediate priorities while aligning their employees with a shared sense of purpose, and develop leaders at all levels to contribute and act on innovative ideas, have a better chance at financial success."

The rankings were compiled based on interviews with more than 18,000 employees from 2,200 organizations around the globe.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.