The 2010 results of The Ken Blanchard Companies® annual Corporate Issues Survey find that corporate leaders plan to either maintain or increase their spending on training and development, despite skepticism about the near economic future, according to a press release issued by the firm.

The 2009 Blanchard survey showed a sense of cautious optimism: 75% of respondents felt that the economy would improve somewhat in 2009. Now in 2010 30% of respondents felt very optimistic or fairly optimistic about an economic recovery for 2010, while 68% were mildly optimistic or cautious.

These latest results represent feedback from more than 1,800 executives, line managers, and training and human resource leaders from a range of companies, industries, and countries. Since 2003, over 8,500 leaders have participated in this ongoing study.

"The continuation or increase in training budgets shows that organizations understand that they need to be ready with an able workforce when the economy bounces back," said Ken Blanchard. "Especially if they want to beat their competition, organizations need to compete for and develop their best talent."

Blanchard survey participants were asked to describe their organization’s overall outlook in regards to the economy, training expenditures, expected cuts, and coping strategies. In addition, the survey touched on corporate issues relating to organizational, HR, and management challenges. With an increase in the amount of global participants, Blanchard was able to categorize some of their findings by region, including Asia/Pacific, EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa), Canada, and Latin America, along with the United States.

Some of the survey’s top responses include:

2010 Top Organizational Challenges
  • Competitive pressure
  • Economic challenges
  • Growth and expansion

2010 Top Management Challenges
  • Creating an engaged workforce
  • Performance management
  • Selecting and retaining key talent

Top Leadership Skills Gap
  • Developing leaders who excel at both strategic and tactical roles
  • Developing leaders who communicate effectively
  • Developing leaders who inspire passion in others

2010 Top Employee Development Challenges
  • Managerial/supervisor skills
  • Productivity improvement
  • Team building skills

Although previous annual surveys have shown a flattened interest in environmental and green challenges, the 2010 survey had more than twice as many leaders respond that they are taking the issue seriously, from approximately 10% in 2009 to 23% this year.

The statistics also reveal that EMEA countries are more focused on environmental issues than elsewhere in the world. The number of participants listing ethics and social responsibility as a challenge has also risen, up by 7 percentage points since last year.

Survey FactsThe study utilized a multiple-choice question format with the opportunity to provide comments with each question. Respondents were selected randomly from the Blanchard database and participated in an email survey. Participants numbered 164 in 2003, 564 in 2004, 511 in 2005, 805 in 2006, 1,091 in 2007, 1,802 in 2008, 1,730 in 2009 and 1,886 in 2010.