WestJet Airlines, Research in Motion and Apple Canada Have Topped the 2009 Study of Human Capital Leaders Compiled by The Beacon Group

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WestJet Airlines, Research in Motion and Apple Canada rank as most admired companies in The Beacon Group’s 2009 Human Capital Leaders study.

In 2008 we saw executives at leading companies experiencing difficulty in articulating their business strategies. In 2009, the problem is not only to come up with a sound strategy, but to keep that corporate strategy in place amidst a challenging economic situation.

The study on Human Capital Leaders was conducted by The Beacon Group, a leading HR advisement and services firm. The Beacon Group conducts its Human Capital Leaders survey each year to get a feel for the state of Human Capital Management in Canada and to determine the companies with leading practices in this area.
The Beacon Group asked 5,600 Canadian executives about the state of talent management in Canada.

This year’s leading companies overcame great economic challenges and the survey results were telling.

“2009 was the first year where we asked some pointed questions about the economy and how the recession is affecting Human Capital plans” said Doug Williamson, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Beacon Group.

The Human Capital Leaders 2009 study points to significant issues with HR strategy as the economy unravels.

“Human Resource departments in companies across the nation are having trouble keeping up with their priorities. Companies are downsizing and at the same time there is a need to make every employee as productive and engaged as possible,” said Williamson.

The impact of the economic environment isn’t providing much hope.

There is abundant pessimism about the economic situation today as 84% of respondents believed the economy will get worse before it gets better and 55% of respondents thought the recession would last 1 year to 18 months minimum.

“It’s very troubling to see how belt tightening is affecting Human Capital planning” added Williamson.

“In 2008 we saw executives at leading companies experiencing difficulty in articulating their business strategies. In 2009, the problem is not only to come up with a sound strategy, but to keep that corporate strategy in place amidst a challenging economic situation.”

More than half of the executives that participated in the survey thought that the economic environment would affect their Human Capital plans. Half of them thought their organization’s corporate culture would be impacted and 66% of respondents could point to specific Human Resource initiatives that they thought would be affected by the recession.

There are some signs, however, that leaders are thinking beyond the recession:

  • Leaders pointed to “Bold and Daring” as the most desirable business culture trait to overcome current challenges.
  • Growth is still the leading strategic challenge for corporations. Leaders are thinking beyond the downsizing that is affecting everyone today and mapping out their future beyond 2010.
  • HR executives indicated that one of the biggest challenges they face is still succession planning.
  • The development of corporate culture, performance management systems and retention strategies are still at the top of HR executive’s minds, once again highlighting themes of difficulty in tight labour markets. HR executives are well aware that these will continue to be issues in 2010 and beyond.

For the moment, though, 33% of leaders believe the biggest constraint in providing quality Human Resource management in their companies is still finances. Resources are definitely tight, but on a more optimistic note, Human Resource issues are moving to the forefront of concerns at many companies according to survey respondents. 48% of respondents say that Human Resource issues are now more important priorities in their companies. 41% say they receive the same level of attention as they did last year and only 9% believe that Human Resource issues are now less of a concern.

“Human Resource concerns usually become more important during periods of downsizing, but The Beacon Group’s results show that leaders are still thinking about strategy, growth, succession planning, corporate culture and attributes associated with a healthy company positioned to compete in 2010 and beyond” argued Williamson.

The survey results and a full list of most admired companies is available at:

The Beacon Group is a leading advising firm in the field of organizational development. Companies across various industries have used The Beacon Group’s assessment products and advising services to leverage their investment in Human Capital. The Beacon Group specializes in Employee Surveys, 360 Feedback Assessments, Early Talent Identification (ETI), Management Training, and Performance Management Systems. Clients including Mercedes-Benz, Aeroplan, Xerox, Sony and SAP have used The Beacon Group’s services to grow their thriving businesses. For more information visit http://www.thebeacongroup.ca

Survey Methodology

The Human Capital Leaders 2009 survey was administered in February and March of 2009 and was open to any individual who wanted to participate within The Beacon Group’s database of 5,600 managers, HR executives, senior executives and C-level leaders. The survey candidates were a group of individuals well versed and highly interested in Human Capital issues. A significant portion of the 5,600 contacts in the database opted in to receive surveys of this nature. These contacts regularly read a number of Human Capital publications supplied by The Beacon Group. Contacts must have remained in our database for at least 2 consecutive months prior to participating in the Human Capital Leaders survey. Participation was solicited by email, press releases and through our website. Surveys remain 100% confidential to encourage honest responses. Any survey that was missing a significant amount of information was not included in the

For media inquiries please speak to Kyle Couch at 1-866-240-3948 or email at kcouch(at)thebeacongroup.ca.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.


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Kyle Couch
Beacon Group (The)
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