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Senior Managers ‘Least Likely’ to Get Development


Of all corporate staff levels senior management is least likely to get training and development, according to a survey of 2,000 HR and training and development executives.

The study by US-based global consulting and training firm Novations Group,found that while 90% of first-line managers will receive training this year, only 59% of senior executives will do so.

“Leadership development professionals have long known that top management is sometimes ambivalent when it comes to any type of training,” said Paul Terry, Novations vice president for talent management. “Nevertheless, the rate at which senior-level people get development support is probably greater than at any time in the past. Organisations are more concerned about bench strength and retiring boomers. Our findings probably under-reflect how much senior management is actually getting, since their teams often participate in visioning, coaching, strategic planning and other endeavors that are actually T&D, if not in name.”

Which of the following employee categories at your organisation will receive training & development this year? (Select all that apply.)
- Entry-level employees 82%
- Experienced non-management employees 75%
- First-line managers 90%
- Middle-level executives 76%
- Senior-level executives 59%

The survey found high levels of training for first-line managers. “Many first-line managers are recently promoted,” said Terry. “More senior managers already got some fundamental training. And management understands that first-line managers can have the greatest impact on everyday lives of employees. Effective training for first-line people can help improve retention and engagement.”

However, only 18% of respondents believed the transition to senior management was the most difficult. Terry warned that this suggested organisations were underestimating the dimensions of the challenge.

“A senior executive plays a qualitatively different role in the company and has to have a broader perspective. He or she has to make critical business decisions, set company strategy, muster resources and give direction to the whole organisation. Consequently, developing a senior person has to be a deliberate and structured process that integrates the right kind of experiences.”

The Novations Group Internet survey of 2,046 senior human resource and training & development executives was conducted by Equation Research.


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