AchieveNEXT Mid-Year Sentiment Study 2021

“Middle-market companies stand to benefit enormously from leadership development programs, and not employing them can cost them dearly. Designing and delivering a fit-for-purpose program doesn’t need to be out of reach.”

Milton Corsey, AchieveNEXT Director of Human Capital Solutions, in Harvard Business Review

This positive assessment of talent is true across the board and up and down the hierarchy, but leaders express special admiration for the face in the mirror: 35% give their leadership team the highest rating, a 5 on a five-point scale—about three times more than the number who would give an A to their managers and workers. CFOs and CHROs show almost no difference in their assessment of the quality of top- management. However, HR leaders are slightly less enthusiastic than their finance colleagues about the capabilities of middle management and the workforce. While finance and human-resource leaders are happy with the talent they have, they are deeply concerned that they don’t have enough of it or will be unable to keep the people they want and need. Teams are expanding — and expanding quickly. Thirty-eight percent say they expect their workforce to have increased by more than 10% by the end of 2021, and another 34% forecast a 3-10% headcount increase. No wonder, therefore, that nearly three in five (57%) say that “finding the talent we need” is an extremely high concern, ranking five on a five-point scale. Another 27% ranking it a 4. Almost none — only 4% — say finding talent is a minor or nonexistent concern. Since it’s easier to fill a bucket if it’s not leaking, retaining talent is almost as great an issue, ticking the top box for 37% and the next level for 34%.

Wages may be rising, but executives place much higher priority on their investments in training and leadership development than in managing pay and benefits costs.


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