A new report has found that UK employers who are taking high levels of responsibility for management development are seeing significant improvements in organisational performance.
Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) provides new evidence of the links between organisational performance and investment in Management and Leadership Development (MLD).
The CMI's report, 'Management Development Works: the evidence', examines the the impact of management development on organisational performance over an eight-year period, revealing improved business performance when development is linked to business strategy.
It has uncovered a significant shift in the priority given to management development by employers and a change in attitude towards what makes a good manager and how development should be delivered
The report shows managers claiming a significant rise in the impact MLD has on their organisations. Asked the extent to which they agreed that MLD developed managers to meet business needs, a high rating of seven out of 10 was given.
Managers also suggested that when MLD is linked to specific skills that address business needs, organisational productivity levels climb.
The findings, based on detailed interviews with 1,000 Managers, indicate that many employers are now taking more responsibility at a senior level for employee development within organisations.
In 2004, half of CEOs or Boards were directly responsible for initiating MLD policy, compared to only four out of ten (43 per cent) per cent in 1996. Meanwhile, senior involvement in implementation remains high at 24 per cent, a nine per cent increase on 1996.
According to the CMI, the belief that "leaders are born, not made" has been eclipsed. Managers are now expressing the view that on-the-job experience is more valuable than natural ability when it comes to performing well at work
As a result, UK organisations have recognised the need for sustained development programmes. Almost half (45 per cent) allocate a specific budget for management training and half of managers claim their employer now has a written policy on management development, compared to 37 per cent in 2000.
Almost nine out of ten organisations claim to have regular appraisals to establish training requirements and more than half (57 per cent) admit to 'talent management' by selecting high potential managers for intensive development.
The report also shows that the skills most sought after are managing people, leadership and meeting customer needs. Looking forward, managers are looking to develop skills including the management of change and risk and the ability to facilitate organisational learning.
"Learning and development has often been conducted with the implicit belief that it is beneficial. " says Mary Chapman, CMI chief executive.
"However, this research project provides positive evidence of the value of management development and shows that organisations which base MLD on strategic business needs clearly benefit from performance improvements."