Succession Planning through the Ages

By Lisa, Hartley | Workforce Management, September 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Succession Planning through the Ages


Lisa, Hartley, Workforce Management


In the Middle Ages, succession was the ceremonial transfer of land and authority to an heir. In the Industrial Age, succession often played out in smoky back rooms. And in the Information Age, succession was primarily focused on a predictable leadership transition for the benefit of shareholders and investors.

But now in the Talent Age, succession is not just for the leadership team-it's a strategy for everyone. With a platform that supports unified talent management, you can employ the principles of supply chain just as successfully with people as they've been used to power world-class manufacturing.

Real-time Succession: Believe It Or Not

For many companies, it used to be unimaginable that succession planning could be incorporated throughout the organization. It was hard enough just to focus on the top 200 managers and executives. Times have changed. On a unified platform, you can take recruiting data, match it to performance and career planning data, and build real-time succession plans. No more yellow sticky notes on a white board. No more emergency meetings when someone critical unexpectedly leaves. A unified system provides a structure to mitigate risk and make talent movement and mobility a core strength in your business.

Power to the Person

Succession is important to the organization, but it's also a benefit to the individual. With a unified talent management platform that includes career planning, people are encouraged to think about their individual potential, personalize their impact on organizational performance, and look to develop a meaningful future.

As Millennials take the places of retiring Baby Boomers, they will no longer accept traditional succession planning. They place tremendous importance on what they do and where they are going. Loyalty to company has been replaced by a belief in self. A talent management platform that integrates career planning with succession planning provides the ability to match perceived personal potential with a structure of meaningful and tangible mobility.

The Need is Now

The need for succession plans is real and the reality is frightening. In the case of one mid-sized insurance provider, 50% of senior management is expected to retire in five years. A large healthcare provider recently experienced 80% attrition in the senior management ranks-rather than the 40% they were expecting. They scrambled to recruit and were only able to fill 60% of those positions at great cost. Examples like these are not uncommon. …

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