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Connecting training to business challenges executives

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Connecting training to business results, as well as sustaining training with follow up and reinforcement, were amongst the top concerns expressed by 1,800 leaders quizzed for the Ken Blanchard Companies corporate issues survey, published today.

Developing employee communication skills and potential leaders were also high priorities.

In a surprise result, economic worries came only second in the list of key organisational challenges, with competitive pressure again taking the number one slot for the sixth year running.

However, 59% of respondents to the survey did express apprehension about the struggle to grow and expand in an uncertain economy, with 23% believing this would be their greatest challenge in the next 12 months.

For the first time, the Blanchard survey also asked questions about ethics and social responsibility and environmental issues. Despite the high profile of these matters, very few companies saw them as concerns that needed to be taken seriously. Only 13% of respondents acknowledged their companies faced ethical and social responsibility challenges, and only 9% felt a need to focus more strongly on green policies.

Other notable results from the survey include the fact that customer loyalty is seen as a key concern by only a minority of businesses. Developing customer relationship skills ranked only fifth in the employee development listings. Despite its potential value within a competitive marketplace, customer loyalty came just seventh in the list of top management challenges. Just 10% of businesses surveyed see customer loyalty as their top management challenge for 2008, and the percentage of those recognising it as any kind of concern dropped radically – from 48% in 2007 to 38% this year.

Problems associated with creating an engaged workforce, the top management challenge, appear to be getting greater. The numbers of respondents recognising this as a key concern have increased year on year since the Blanchard survey began in 2002.

Blanchard’s annual survey questions business leaders, managers and training and HR professionals worldwide on the challenges they believe they will face in the coming year. The study uses a multiple-choice question format with opportunities to add comments to each question. Respondents are selected randomly from Blanchard’s database.

This year, over 1,800 executives, line managers, training and HR leaders from a range of companies, industries and countries cited their most burning organisational business issues, as well as their top management, employee development, and HR challenges.

The top responses for each category were:

2008 Top HR & Training Challenges:
Connecting training to business results
Sustaining training with follow-up and reinforcement
Strategic alignment of training goals and business initiatives

2008 Top Employee Development Challenges:
Performance management
Manager/supervisor skills
Interpersonal communication skills

2008 Top Management Challenges:
Creating an engaging workforce
Managing change
Developing potential leaders

2008 Top Organisational Business Challenges:
Competitive pressure
Economic challenges
Growth and expansion

The full survey results are online at http://www.kenblanchard.com/thoughtleadership/research_findings/2008_corporate_issues. For more details you can contact The Ken Blanchard Companies on 01483 456 300 or email [email protected] or go to the company's website www.kenblanchard.com

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