Can Mid-Level Managers Escape the Gloom of the Recession and Drive a Recovery Strategy?

Washington, D.C. — April 1, 2010 — The Human Capital Institute (HCI) in association with Development Dimensions International (DDI), global talent management expert, announced last week at the Human Capital Summit in Tucson, Arizona, the recent results of a new research report, Mid-Level Managers: The Bane and Salvation of Organizations. The report focused on the strategic importance of mid-level management as companies recover from the worst recession in decades.

In recent history, mid-level managers have been recognized as vital ambassadors between senior leadership and the front lines of a business. Because mid-level managers have such crucial roles in their organizations’ success or failure, because they are largely responsible for strategy execution HCI and DDI set out to gather “point in time” information by surveying human resource leaders to understand the current set of issues creating strain within organizations.

“This is a unique survey that opens a window into a critical component of the management structure at a time when they have faced tremendous pressure during the recession,” says Michael DeMarco, HCI’s Director of Research, “Ultimately, the survey results will help organizations answer many questions about mid-level managers as the recovery takes shape.”

Some of the results in the report include:

• As the Great Recession subsides, mid-levels are badly bruised and in need of a jump-start.
-Only 14% of mid-level managers are “fully engaged” which suggests that the Recession has been hard on the middle especially and that organizations need to focus on retooling and rehabilitating this crucial group to succeed.

• A Gloom Spiral — if left unbroken — makes execution difficult and will leave many organizations behind as intense global competition resumes.
– Considering mid-levels’ high stress and low engagement, 65% of HR executives believe they will be able to “muddle through” 2010 while only 39% can answer positively when looking ahead three-to-five years.

• HR executives see a serious risk to organizational mission unless mid-level performance and engagement improves.
– Over 75% of respondents are concerned or very concerned about retaining high-performing mid-levels as the Great Recession ends and the war for talent resumes.

• Senior HR executives take a harsh view of their current abilities to deliver great learning & development to their mid-levels.
– While 69% of HR executives want more of the overall training budget spent on mid-levels, less than 10% see their programs as very effective in the eyes of their mid-levels which suggests this is a problem that cannot be solved by simply throwing money at L&D.

These and other challenges raised in the report indicate that organizations that focus on re-engaging and supporting their mid-level managers may develop a crucial competitive advantage in a re-ignited global economy.

“Companies won’t have a chance at recovery or growth if their mid-level leaders aren’t onboard with the direction—and if they don’t have support to overcome their greatest challenges,” said Rich Wellins, Vice President, DDI. “Organizations have to step up and give these leaders the development they need.”

This research report is now available on HCI’s website:

About The Human Capital Institute
The Human Capital Institute (HCI) is a catalyst for innovative new thinking in talent acquisition, development, deployment and new economy leadership. Through research and collaboration, our global network of more than 175,000 members develops and promotes creativity, best and next practices, and actionable solutions in strategic talent management. Executives, practitioners, and thought leaders representing organizations of all sizes, across public, charitable and government sectors, utilize HCI communities, education, events and research to foster talent advantages to ensure organizational change for competitive results. In tandem with these initiatives, HCI’s Human Capital Strategist professional certifications and designations set the bar for expertise in talent strategy, acquisition, development and measurement. For more information, please visit

About DDI
Founded in 1970, Development Dimensions International, a global talent management expert, works with organizations worldwide to apply best practices to hiring/promotion, leadership development, performance management and succession management. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the firm advises half of the Fortune 500. For more information about DDI visit

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