Is your leadership training hitting the mark? Data says maybe not.

Most organizations don’t question the value of learning and development. What organizations should question, however, is whether the training they invest in helps people leaders meet business goals. For a quarter of organizations, it may not. 

A recent survey, conducted by The Predictive Index (PI) and HR Dive’s studioID, found that while more than three-quarters of people leaders agree that their organizations support employees’ career development, nearly one in four reports insufficient training as one of the most significant challenges impeding people leaders’ success. 

The worry balloons for in-person organizations, with double the share of in-office respondents (20%) compared to hybrid workers (11%) saying insufficient training is a significant challenge impeding their success.

The survey of 220+ people leaders also found stark differences between what training organizations invest in and what training respondents find most beneficial. Let’s explore those differences and identify how to offset them so you can improve how your organization develops its leaders. 

What training do organizations invest in vs. what’s actually beneficial? 

When respondents were asked what training their organizations invest in versus what they personally see as most beneficial for people leaders, the results highlighted harsh differences in a few major areas, including AI, communication, compliance, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, and harassment. 


What’s working? Fifty-seven percent of organizations invest in leadership training/coaching, and 56% of respondents say it would be the most beneficial for people leaders, showing solid alignment worth keeping up. 

3 upgrades to your training to maximize people leaders’ success

Almost all survey respondents (98%) agree that their organizations rely on people leaders to achieve business goals. (No surprise there.) However, people leaders don’t always agree on the best ways to deliver training to meet those goals. According to the survey results, there are three areas in which HR leaders can benefit from finding alignment to maximize the impact of their L&D benefits.

1. Understand generational preferences on skill development.

Tip: Provide training that supports people leaders across generational divides to avoid creating larger divisions. 

Research showed varying generational preferences regarding leadership training/coaching, confidence coaching, conflict resolution, and communications skills education. For example, GenXers and Millennials are more inclined than Boomers to view emotional intelligence as the most beneficial training for people leaders (60% and 53% more inclined, respectively). 

Understanding generational differences can be a helpful starting point for identifying and addressing the differing training needs across your workforce. But, ultimately, every employee and leader has their own needs. The best way to serve every generation of your employees is to serve all employees—by assessing skills preferences and gaps across your organization and creating solutions tailored to address them. Tools like the PI Behavioral Assessment can provide career pathing goals based on your employees’ strengths and caution areas so they get the most value out of their development. 

2. Balance workplace training with your workplace setting. 

Tip: Consider if leaders have the training they need to succeed in your work setting. 

The research found a few differences between hybrid and in-office people leaders worth noting. For one, in-office respondents are twice as likely (20% vs. 11%) as respondents in a hybrid workplace to see insufficient training as a significant challenge impeding their success. However, hybrid organizations tend to put more value on team development. 

The survey found that people leaders in hybrid workplaces are significantly more likely than fully in-office leaders (23% vs. 14%) to say that investing in their teams’ development is a top criterion for defining a successful people leader in their organization.

If you’ve changed or plan to change your workplace setting, consider tracking how skill sets fluctuate and what new skills are needed so no employee gets left behind. With a tool like PI Hire, you can assess the skills needed to succeed from day one in a role to ensure a smoother employee journey.

3. Provide the right tools and training to avoid conflict. 

Tip: Equip leaders with tools and training to handle conflict. You may think, “Been there, done that,” but this gap continues to be a sore spot for leaders. Don’t skip over it.

The Predictive Index’s 2023 State of Middle Management report found that over one-third of middle managers (34%) lack the resources to address team conflict. Unfortunately, the need for help with conflict resolution has gone unresolved over the last year, as this latest survey shows leaders want more conflict resolution training than organizations are investing.

Interestingly, Boomers and GenXers (35% each) are more likely than Millennials (26%) to see conflict resolution as the most beneficial training for people leaders. When comparing the data based on workplace settings, we also see that hybrid respondents (41%) are far more likely than those fully in-office (25%) to report conflict resolution as the most beneficial training for their organizations’ people leaders. 

Conflicts at work take many forms. You can use a tool like PI’s Relationship Guide to complement your traditional conflict resolution training and equip managers with personalized recommendations to resolve the unique conflicts playing out on individual teams.  complement your traditional conflict resolution training and equip managers with personalized recommendations

One hurdle cleared, a few more to go

The more hurdles you remove for your people leaders, the easier it’ll be for them to hit your business goals. Team and personal development is just one gap this survey uncovered. What else do people leaders need from employers to help them (and your business) succeed? 

Tune into the full report coming this spring for more data-based intel. 

Until then, get a head start on improving your manager’s leadership potential with PI Perform. Discover how this all-in-one platform can help your people leaders drive performance—daily.