Is Leadership Training a Good Investment? Yes, According to New Research from Jamie Turner

A new research study conducted by Jamie Turner, Dr. Jesse Conyers, and Emory Executive Education concludes that leadership training for employees is an essential ingredient for any successful business.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

  • The need for training and development remains important: 83% of survey respondents said the need for training and development is greater today than it was 5 years ago (this increased from 80% in 2022) 
  • Training and development budgets are less likely to increase this year: Only 25% of those surveyed said they were likely or very likely to see an increase in their budgets in the coming year. This is down from 54% in 2022.
  • It is easier to attract new employees in 2023 vs. 2022: In 2022, 79% of survey respondents said it was harder to attract new employees than it was 5 years ago. In 2023, that figure dropped to 69%, indicating that it’s slightly easier to hire in 2023 than it was in 2022. 
  • Executive teams are less involved in talent development: 56% of survey respondents said their organization’s executive team is very involved in talent development, which has decreased from 74% in 2022.
  • In 2023, organizations were less focused on developing the next generation of leaders than in 2022: 45% of those surveyed said their organization has a clear focus on developing the next generation of leaders, down from 63% in 2022.

In this article, we’ll explore additional statistics that highlight the importance of leadership training and how it directly correlates with employee engagement and business success.

1. The High Cost of Employee Turnover

One of the most compelling statistics supporting leadership development is the staggering cost of employee turnover. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost to replace an employee can range from 50% to 60% of their annual salary. Additionally, a statistic from Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report indicates that 51% of employees would leave their current job for a role with better development opportunities. Effective leadership development programs can significantly reduce turnover rates by fostering a positive work environment, improving employee satisfaction, and providing career growth opportunities.

Here are some additional statistics about employee turnover and job satisfaction:

  • Leadership development programs can help to increase employee retention by up to 50%. (Source: The Ken Blanchard Companies)
  • Leadership development programs can help to increase employee satisfaction by up to 20%. (Source: The Ken Blanchard Companies)
  • The average cost of replacing a top executive is 213% of their annual salary. (Source: SHRM)
  • 50% of employees have cited bad leadership and management as their main reason for leaving a job. (Source: ThriveMyWay)
  • 79% of people leave their job because they don’t feel appreciated. 3 out of every 4 companies report that leadership could be improved. (Source: ThriveMyWay)

2. Improved Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are more committed, productive, and innovative. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report reveals that only 23% of employees worldwide are actively engaged in their jobs. In contrast, organizations that invest in leadership development programs experience a boost in employee engagement. Gallup’s research also shows that companies with engaged workforces outperform their peers by up to 147% in earnings per share.

Below are more statistics on employee engagement:

  • Companies with employee engagement are 22% more profitable. (Source: Zippia)
  • Leadership development programs can help to increase employee engagement by up to 70%. (Source: Gallup)
  • 78% of business leaders actively and regularly focus on engaging with their employees. (Source: Zippia)
  • 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. (Source: Zippia)
  • Disengaged employees had a 37% higher absentee rate, suffered 49% more accidents, and made 60% more errors at work. (Source: Zippia)
  • Employees who go through leadership training show a 20% increase in performance. (Source: ThriveMyWay)

3. Improved Business Performance

Leadership development programs can be a catalyst for increasing business performance and profitability in several ways. Firstly, effective leaders inspire and motivate their teams, leading to improved employee morale and productivity. When employees are engaged and motivated, they are more likely to go the extra mile to achieve organizational goals, ultimately contributing to increased efficiency and output. Additionally, strong leaders are adept at making strategic decisions that align with the company’s vision and objectives, optimizing resource allocation and reducing wastage. They also foster a culture of innovation and adaptability, enabling businesses to stay competitive in rapidly changing markets. Moreover, leadership development often emphasizes effective communication and collaboration, which can lead to better teamwork and fewer misunderstandings, reducing operational friction and costs. In the long run, well-developed leaders are more likely to identify growth opportunities, mitigate risks, and steer the organization towards sustainable profitability, making leadership development a wise investment for any business.

Here are some statistics about leadership development and business performance:

  • Companies with strong leadership development programs are 30% more likely to be profitable. (Source: The Corporate Executive Board)
  • Companies with effective leadership development programs are 70% more likely to achieve their business goals. (Source: Development Dimensions International)
  • Companies with effective leadership development programs are 12 times more likely to report above-average financial performance. (Source: Bersin & Associates)
  • Study results show that participants undergoing leadership training improved their learning capacity by 25% and their performance by 20%. (Source:
  • Companies with effective leadership development programs are 2.5 times more likely to be leaders in their industry. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  • Companies with effective leadership development programs are 67% more likely to have a succession plan in place. (Source: Development Dimensions International)
  • For every year a company delays leadership development, it costs 7% of their total annual sales. (Source: Zippia)

These statistics show that leadership development programs can have a significant impact on a company’s success. By investing in leadership development, companies can improve their bottom line, increase employee satisfaction, and become leaders in their industry.

4. Leadership Skills Gap

A study by McKinsey & Company found that 90% of executives believe that leadership development is a critical aspect of their business strategy. However, only 10% believe their leadership development programs are effective. This stark contrast highlights the existence of a leadership skills gap in many organizations. Addressing this gap through training and development not only improves individual leaders but also enhances the overall organizational performance.

Here are some statistics about leadership skills gap:

  • While 83% of organizations believe it’s important to develop leaders at every level of the company, only 5% of businesses have implemented leadership development at all levels. (Source: Zippia)
  • 80% of companies struggle with finding employees with relevant leadership skills. (Source: ThriveMyWay)
  • 69% of millennials feel a lack of leadership development
  • Only 11% of companies believe they have strong leadership. (Source: ThriveMyWay)
  • Only 10% of CEOs believe their company’s leadership development initiatives have a clear business impact. (Source: DDI)
  • 77% of organizations report they are currently experiencing a leadership gap. (Source: DDI)

5. Boosting Innovation and Adaptability

Leadership development fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability. While specific statistics may vary depending on the source and context, there is substantial research and evidence that supports this claim.

Here are some key statistics and findings related to how leadership development contributes to increased innovation and adaptability:

  • Companies with strong leadership development programs are 2.5 times more likely to be innovative. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • 84% of CEOs believe that innovation is a key driver of their growth strategy. (Source: PwC)
  • Leadership development programs that focus on innovation can increase the success rate of new product launches by up to 70%. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • Organizations with leadership development programs that encourage creativity and innovation report a 50% higher rate of new product launches. (Source: Deloitte)
  • 55% of organizations have invested in leadership development to foster greater adaptability and resilience. (Source: McKinsey & Company)

6. Enhanced Decision-Making

Effective leaders make informed decisions. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that organizations with leadership development programs are 4.2 times more likely to have strong decision-making processes in place.

Here are some statistics and findings that illustrate the positive impact of leadership development on decision-making effectiveness:

  • Leadership development programs can help to improve decision-making by up to 50%. (Source: Center for Creative Leadership)
  • 84% of executives believe that leadership development programs have a positive impact on their organization’s ability to make strategic decisions. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  • Only 10% of people are natural leaders — another 20% show some qualities of basic managerial talent that can be cultivated into high-quality leadership. (Source: Zippia)

In conclusion, the statistics surrounding leadership development are compelling and underscore its importance in the business world. Not only does leadership development contribute to reduced turnover costs and improved employee engagement, but it also addresses the leadership skills gap, influences employee retention, boosts innovation, and enhances decision-making. Companies that prioritize leadership development are better equipped to navigate the challenges of today’s ever-changing business landscape, setting the stage for long-term success and sustainable growth.

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