In a recent Entrepreneur article, contributor Matt Straz wrote, “Almost half of the companies that participated in the Workplace Trends’ Global Workforce Leadership Survey in February and March 2015 chose leadership as the hardest skill to find in employees. What’s more, among the 1,000 employee participants, only 36 percent called leadership a strength in their organizations.”

The article goes on to express that most companies put the ownership on the employee to ready themselves for higher levels of responsibility. While some of the ownership (and certainly the heavy lifting) of daily skill development must rest squarely on the employee’s shoulders, there are many aspects usually missing. Outside of a generic leadership profile, there’s usually little-to-no direction from the top on leadership training and expectations. Managers are expected to take the simple profile provided and identify leaders based on rather nebulous criteria, employees are expected to sign up for conferences and drive somewhat aimlessly at expectations that aren’t at all clear.

I can’t stress this enough: Human Resources is absolutely critical to the development of leadership within an organization. This post shows that theory working practice.

As a seasoned CHRO who is now a consultant for both startups and larger organizations, this is an issue I see time and time again. They want to develop leadership within the organization, expecting the cream to rise to the top without any internal expectations or support. When it comes to talent you only have two means of obtaining it: you can make it, or you can buy it. Constantly reaching outside your walls to bring in leadership leads to a transient workplace whose existing resources never reach their full potential. By working with HR — the only division that comprehends leadership and can see the entire company from an eagle-eye AND in-depth view — a company can build strong development programs and invest in building the leadership they know they need rather than hoping their people turn into the leaders they hope they get.

Organizations that turn their backs on leadership development do not generally deliver great results. Without proper training and investment in the careers of your people, they’ll start to look elsewhere. Retention numbers don’t have to fall and productivity plummet. This is where HR truly shines. The skills are there. They’re simply dying to be utilized.

HR leaders, this is where you must also approach your management teams. There’s no greater opportunity to show your worth than with the identification of the need for leadership development partnered with strong, effective succession planning. For any company company with more than five people this is crucial. Eventually, for the company to handle growth, it must be prepared to build leaders and promote them forward. This is where we positively glow with expertise. We must use it to everyone’s collective advantage. Our jobs are to build productivity and profitability, and this is a great means to do it.

Our futures depend on strong leadership growing through the ranks in order to bolster growth and create a ready supply of top talent that can be deployed strategically throughout the organization. Without proper leadership development and succession planning, many companies are sunken before they even leave port. HR and the C-suite must partner on these efforts. If you want to know where the next great leader of your organization is coming from, you need only look to one place: Human Resources.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rita Trehan has over three decades of progressive career experience in the ranks of Human Resources.  A former senior executive and Chief Human Resources Officer, she has crafted a reputation as a consummate business partner and dedicated innovator leading large-scale organizational change and business transformation as the top HR executive at AES and Honeywell.Rita has since launched a consultancy dedicated to transforming companies and successfully delivered transformation projects for global and international firms such as Coke-Cola, World Bank, and AGL, in addition to advising numerous smaller firms across a broad range of diverse markets. A common output in all cases are tangible benefits and compelling returns on investment for all stakeholders and in many cases, the solution to the problem lies from within.

Ranked among the Top 100 Human Resources Officers by ExecRank in 2012, Rita is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in London; ‘Stevie’ Silver Award Winner 2015 for best international start-up of the year, as well as two Stevie Bronze Women in Business Awards 2015, for most innovative Business and Best Start-up of the Year.

Her new book, Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resource lays out the fundamental disconnects that frequently occur between the CEO’s vision and an organizations’ capacity to deliver and introduces Rita’s proprietary approach to closing the gap, ‘The Capacity Framework’. This tool helps businesses and large organizations to assess their Vision, Strategy, Solutions and Leadership Brand in a new way, and harness the power of HR to expand capacity and drive change.