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Henley Business School reveals results of Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2010


Henley Business School has revealed that developing the leadership skills of middle managers and equipping them to manage change are among the top learning and development priorities for organisations in 2010, according to the Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2010 carried out by Henley’s Corporate Development team.

Respondents indicated a significant focus on leadership development in 2010, particularly at middle management level. They also anticipate focusing on high-potentials as they grow and develop to lead their businesses into an uncertain future. One respondent commented they were placing, “Change even higher on the agenda in 2010” and 67% of respondents chose ’Managing Change’ as a specific development priority for managers.

The survey, amongst 2,500 HR and learning development professionals, was designed to provide an up-to-date perspective of the executive education and development landscape. Over 60% of those completing the survey were HR Directors, Vice-Presidents or Heads of HR or Learning & Development in some of the UK’s largest employers.

Linda Irwin, Executive Director, Corporate Development for Henley Business School, said that the research showed many were planning for the long-term, and not making budget cuts they may live to regret:

“Managing Directors, CEOs, HR Directors and Learning & Development professionals have adopted a pragmatic, level-headed, measured approach when faced with the tumultuous economic climate we have endured. As one respondent commented in the survey, his organisation’s priority is to ’Ride out the storm that has been created by the recession without losing our A teams.’ Rather than axing development budgets and cutting leadership development they have focused effort on those individuals who they expect will lead their organisations into a future yet to be created. Softer skills, in leadership styles and in leadership coaching for instance, that bring out the very best in people and facilitate team working are also a priority.”

Key findings of the Priorities Survey 2010 included all respondents stating that leadership development is the most important priority. The development of middle managers is also considered extremely important with 67% naming it as their first or second priority, compared to only 35% rating leadership development for senior managers in their top 5. The importance of succession planning and attracting new talent are key priorities for 2010, both rising in importance from 2009. 67% of respondents see equipping managers for ’managing change’ as a specific development priority, though only 16% view it as an HR concern for 2010. This inconsistency suggests the respondents - mainly HR professionals - feel they have dealt with the immediate aftermath of change, and may see responsibility for it now passing to managers, who need to be equipped to deal with it.

Commenting on the findings, Linda Irwin said: “It seems organisations are aligning their Learning and Development priorities with their business objectives more closely than they have ever done before. This research has helped us to redesign our Executive Education Portfolio to reflect the current priorities of organisations and those that lead them.”


Notes to Editors:
The survey was conducted online in November 2009 amongst 2,500 corporate client and non-client contacts of Henley Business School. A total of 119 responses were received of which 60% were from Directors, VP’s or Heads of HR or Learning & Development, 32% were HR Managers/Officers and 7% were non-HR Directors.

About Henley Business School at the University of Reading
Henley Business School is one of Europe’s largest full-service business schools and offers a comprehensive range of management courses, from undergraduate business degrees to executive education. Its portfolio also encompasses the world-ranked Henley MBA, Executive MBA and Distance Learning MBA, The Henley Doctor of Business Administration, PhD opportunities, and postgraduate Masters courses in business. It is also one of the very few international business schools to hold triple accredited status (AMBA, EQUIS, AACSB).

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