BY THE NUMBERS
Organizations with a Stronger Bench Have More High-Potential Diversity
Organizations Struggling to Build a Strong Leadership Bench Overlook Key Talent
In our main Global Leadership Forecast 2023 report, we found that companies are struggling with bench strength, as only 12% report having a strong bench. Furthermore, CEOs noted that developing the next generation of leaders was one of their chief concerns, just behind attracting and retaining top talent.
One of the key challenges in creating a strong bench, however, is that many companies think too narrowly about their definition of leadership potential. Bias can serve as a barrier to building bench strength, especially when companies fail to be inclusive in their leadership development efforts. Our data showed that companies that have high bench strength are also significantly more diverse.
In companies with high bench strength, women made up 28% of their high-potential pools, compared to only 18% in companies with low bench strength.
In companies with high bench strength, employees from racial and ethnic minorities made up 26% of their high-potential pools, compared to a mere 10% in companies struggling to fill their leadership bench. Additionally, women comprised 28% of high-potential pools at companies with a stronger bench, compared to only 18% in companies with low bench strength.
Increased bench strength also corresponds to having a stronger culture of inclusion. In organizations with stronger bench strength, leaders were more than twice as likely to say that inclusion of different perspectives is a strong part of their culture. Managers at organizations with greater bench strength were also 1.8X more likely to challenge old ways of doing things and 1.9X more likely to provide opportunities for their team members’ growth and development.
Managers at organizations with greater bench strength were also 1.8X more likely to challenge old ways of doing things.
It’s clear that companies struggling most to fill key leadership roles may significantly improve their outlook by thinking more broadly about their definition of leadership potential and eliminating bias in their systems that may be causing them to overlook existing talent hidden in their workforce.