Human Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Aon Hewitt
Top Companies for Leaders®

What was the timing of the study?

Email invitations to participate in the 2014 Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders survey were distributed in January. Immediately following survey submission, companies were screened for finalist status. Finalist interviews took place on a rolling-basis from February through August. The Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders lists were selected by judges from August through September. Results will be announced publicly in November 2014.

Is there anything I can do now?

You can benchmark your leadership and talent practices against the 2014 Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders starting in December 2014. We know from our research that companies that excel at attracting, developing and retaining leaders focus on continuous improvement. In fact, 86% of the 2011 finalist benchmarked their practices against the winning organizations. Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders benchmark report provides your organization with valuable information that will help you identify, prioritize and act on your most critical leadership needs in 2014 and beyond. Refer to the contacts page on our website ( for information on your local resources.

What’s new for 2014?

Aon Hewitt conducted extensive research through data analysis, secondary research and feedback from our leading consultants, clients and partners to modify and enhance the 2014 survey. Approximately 40% of the survey remains unchanged. To ensure our ability to analyze long-term trends, we’ve added items that carefully examine leadership and talent challenges both today and in the future.

There is greater investigation in innovative leadership development practices; how organizations effectively manage generational differences; assessment practices that generate the greatest value; how leaders drive engagement; workforce planning; and infrastructure to facilitate mobility, data analytics, cutting edge diversity and inclusion strategies.

The survey content areas are as follows: leadership strategy, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, attracting and sourcing talent, leadership capability and performance management, succession management, assessment, high potentials, leadership development, and mobility.

What is the general process of the study?

Immediately following survey submission, companies are screened for finalist status. Finalist interviews take place on a rolling basis while the survey is live in the field (typically February through May). Judges select the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders lists between the months of June and August with results announced publicly in November. All winners receive advanced notification of their status prior to the public announcement.

What can I learn from the research?

The Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders research provides valuable information for organizations looking to improve leadership capabilities. Past participants have said that simply completing the survey questionnaire was thought provoking and resulted in new ideas and insights.

As with previous years, all individual participation is confidential. Many organizations know they are not close to being selected for the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders list, but choose to participate for three reasons:

  • To gain feedback from their employees
  • To benchmark themselves against Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders and other organizations
  • To gain access to Aon Hewitt’s best practices for leadership through reporting and one-on-one consulting

Obtaining this valuable data allows organizations to focus their people agenda on those activities which are going to have the greatest impact on their leadership strategy and on their business performance. The insightful reporting will provide greater guidance and focus for organizations on their leadership journey.

We encourage all organizations to complete the survey in order to learn what their organization can do to build or maintain top-notch leadership practices. The real value for participation is gaining clear insight and facts on how top organizations use leadership practices to drive business success.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

The time invested in obtaining data and providing responses will vary by organization. It depends on how readily available the objective data (i.e., turnover, demographics) is to access and how much calibration an organization prefers for responses to the subjective questions. Organizations find it useful to download a copy of the survey (available through the survey link once live) and circulate it among their team(s) before capturing the data online. On average, this process can take approximately two weeks. Entering data online typically takes one hour; the online system will save the information as participants progress through the survey. Organizations are welcome to complete the survey in multiple sessions.

New this year—we’ve added functionality that will allow the participant to skip to a specific section of the survey and view the progress of each section until the survey has been submitted.

Are my responses confidential?

Participation in the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders study is confidential. We do not publish the names of participating companies (with the exception of those companies selected as winners). No individual company data will be reported (i.e. their data would not be identifiable).

Data is only reported in aggregated groups. For example, we may report on the results of the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders (aggregated) as compared to all other participants (aggregated). Or we may compare the aggregated data of top quartile performers vs. bottom quartile performers.

Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders research team is the only party that will have access to individual company data for use in the screening and selection process and data analysis.

What do I get for participating in the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders study?

All participating organizations will:

  • Receive a complimentary research report highlighting the winners’ practices
  • Have an opportunity to benchmark against Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders globally at a discounted rate
  • Obtain access to the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders alumni association to interact with other winning participants, share ideas and network

Organizations named as Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders will also:

  • Gain public recognition as one of the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders
  • Receive a comprehensive communication guideline packet to enhance their employer brand and talent attraction and retention
  • Be a member of the exclusive Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders Think Tank; a consortium of winners from around the globe meeting periodically to share challenges and develop solutions to today’s most critical business challenges
  • Have opportunities to promote their leadership and talent brand in various articles, press releases and the possibility of partnering with Aon Hewitt at conferences or other speaking engagements

Who is eligible for the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders list?

Any organization can participate in the survey process however, only select organizations are eligible for the global Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders list. The following criteria must be met to qualify for the global list:

  • Only one survey response per organization
  • Subsidiaries must be publicly traded, separate from their parent company. Subsidiaries of non-publicly traded parent companies must have a separate Board of Directors (or equivalent governing board)
  • Multinational organizations may only submit one response from the country in which they are headquartered
    • Regional business units may respond to the survey to receive study insights, but will not be eligible for the list unless they meet the subsidiary requirements above
  • Private companies must provide selected financial information

Organizations that do not meet these criteria may be considered for other recognition opportunities that may be presented depending on levels of participation (e.g., special recognition).

How are organizations selected as finalists?

Aon Hewitt screens all organization survey submissions for responses that are consistent with strong leadership practices. To elicit honest answers and maintain the integrity of the methodology, we do not publish the screening criteria.

How are the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders selected?

An independent panel of judges selects the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders and special recognition lists. The panels are composed of renowned authors, academics and business journalists. The panels of judges will utilize findings including organization and leader survey data, interview data, financial measures of performance, and organizational reputation.

Whom should I contact for additional information regarding the study?

Jessie Leisten
Global Project Director, Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders

For more information on Aon Hewitt’s Leadership Consulting Business and Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders expertise, please contact our regional Leadership Consulting Practice Leaders:

Asia Pacific
Manasi Vartak

Bernhard Stieger

Latin America
Max Maggio

North America
Lorraine Stomski


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