-- Research Shows Leading with Purpose, Inspiring and Energizing Others Are Top Priorities for Solid Performance and Growth --

New research by Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) points to key priorities of leaders of organizations on this year’s list of FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC). The research focuses on the key steps these companies are taking to ensure their people and organizations are ready for performance and growth in the new economy.

The World’s Most Admired Companies rankings are the definitive benchmark on corporate reputation. Korn Ferry has collaborated with FORTUNE annually since 1997 to identify, select and rank the WMACs and uncover the business practices that make these companies both highly regarded and successful.

This year’s research addresses five distinct areas that help drive current and future success: purpose, leadership & strategy, capability, accountability and performance.

Purpose

Among this year’s WMAC findings is that leaders believe purpose is a critical element of future success. Ninety-eight percent of WMAC executives believe organizational purpose moves leaders toward shared interest.

The study also shows their confidence in making purpose a priority, as 97 percent agree the organization’s purpose is embraced by employees, and 95 percent believe their organization’s purpose is aligned with the company’s vision and goals.

“This year’s rankings show that success is measured by much more than just achieving profits,” said Laura Manson-Smith, Korn Ferry chief commercial officer, Advisory. “Leaders of companies that made it on the FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list truly understand that organizational purpose drives employees to give their all for their company, colleagues and customers.”

Leadership and Strategy

When it comes to leadership and strategy, the Korn Ferry research finds WMAC companies have agile, trustworthy and inspiring leaders.

Ninety-one percent of survey respondents believe WMAC leaders are courageous in making hard decisions in response to realities, and 77 percent agree leaders are agile and quick in crafting and implementing strategies.

Nearly all (93 percent) indicate that their leaders inspire and energize others, say what they mean (92 percent), and do what they say (96 percent).

Capability

WMAC leaders report having a dedicated and team-focused work environment. Nearly all (95 percent) believe they have engaged employees who go the extra mile and bring their full energy to work, and 83 percent believe that change is seen by employees to be positive and rewarding.

Attention to unique, yet integrated skillsets is key, with 89 percent of respondents saying they rely on multi-skilled teams rather than individual superstars, and 81 percent say their company differentiates career paths to fit different talent profiles.

Accountability

WMAC leaders believe in transparency in objectives, goals and rewards. Ninety-six percent of WMAC executives believe WMAC employees have a strong line of sight to organizational goals, and 89 percent say employees are held accountable for personal objectives.

Respondents believe their companies streamline efforts, with 86 percent saying WMACs simplify roles and accountabilities to reduce ambiguity, and 88 percent believe objectives are closely aligned with rewards.

Performance

Finally, WMAC executives are distinctly positive about the success of their organizations, as 84 percent say their companies are very successful in shareholder value, and 78 percent believe their companies are very successful at top-line growth.

Beyond just measuring financial performance, WMAC executives believe other elements contribute to their overall performance. Eighty-two percent believe they are very successful at making an impact on society, and 82 percent believe their company is very successful at employee engagement.

“Leaders at The World’s Most Admired Companies recognize that financial success can be sustained only if they have engaged, agile and purpose-driven teams,” said Mark Royal, associate client partner, Korn Ferry. “These exemplary companies look beyond current needs to develop the organizational capacity to respond to unique opportunities and challenges ahead, with well-developed talent strategies and success profiles for key roles that emphasize the capabilities that will be required for the future.”

About the FORTUNE/Korn Ferry World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) research

The WMAC rankings are the definitive benchmark on corporate reputation. Korn Ferry has partnered with FORTUNE for 23 years to provide deep insights into the business practices that make these companies highly regarded and successful.

Korn Ferry’s supplemental research analyzed sentiments of 749 senior executives from companies participating in the annual WMAC rankings. For the purpose of this supplemental study, WMACs were defined as those that are among the top 50 overall “all-stars” or ranked among the top three in their respective industries.

For more information on how the rankings are determined, please view the full methodology on Korn Ferry’s website.

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. And, we help professionals navigate and advance their careers.

Tracy Kurschner 612.309.3957 Tracy.Kurschner@Kornferry.com

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