The seventh annual Best Companies for Leadership Study conducted by the global consulting firm the Hay Group ranked Walmart eighth.
Walmart’s eighth place ranking on the top 20 list is one notch better than the prior year, but slightly below the company’s 6th place ranking in 2009 when it made the list for the first time.
Topping this year’s list was General Electric, followed by Procter &Gamble, IBM, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Accenture. Following Walmart on the list were Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Toyota, Nestle, 3M, Southwest Airlines, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo, Siemens, Shell, Dow Chemical and FedEx.
According to Hay Group’s study, companies on the list create workplace environments and processes that enable innovation to thrive. In fact, all of the top 20 companies reported that their leaders regularly celebrate innovation, compared with just 49% of other companies. In addition, 90% of the top 20 companies reported that if individuals have an excellent idea, they can bypass the chain of command without the threat of negative consequences, compared with only 63% of other companies.
“The Best Companies for Leadership recognize innovation is key to their future growth and ability to survive in a fiercely competitive global market,” said Rick Lash, director in Hay Group's leadership and talent practice and co-leader of the study. “Many companies prize innovation, but the best companies for leadership approach it in a disciplined way by building agile organizations, promoting collaboration, celebrating successes, learning from setbacks and fostering a culture that encourages a passion for innovation throughout the organization.”
The study also found that the top 20 companies cast a wide net for ideas and develop their people to think more broadly. All of the top 20 said they provide structured opportunities for younger employees to promote innovative ideas, compared with 68% of other companies. Similarly, 95% of the top 20 companies reported that senior leaders personally spend time actively developing others, and 90% said their leaders effectively help frontline employees understand their company’s long-term strategy.
The study included responses from roughly 7,000 people at 2,300 organizations. To see the current top 20 list and how it has evolved since the study began in 2005, click here.