For high-performance organizations, succession management is mainstream. And, they waste no time in adopting technology to help embed succession management into their organizational strategy.

Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 State of Succession Management Study shows that kicking around the same old names scribbled on post-it notes should long be an obsolete activity. At least it is true for those organizations that desire leadership and business continuity and successful business results.

An efficient, continuous process, consistent application across the enterprise, integration of succession data with other talent data, and successor analytics are treasures that set apart effective succession management from low-performance replacement planning.

Leadership needs to mine talent data, assess the readiness of high-potential employees, predict turnover in critical segments and roles, formulate talent mobility plans, and define on-demand talent pools. To do so requires transformation of paper-based activities to succession automation. Succession management tools are at the forefront of this succession management evolution.

How Many Have Automated Succession Tools?

Not enough! Just 5% of organizations have a fully automated and integrated succession management process.

Figure 1: Is Your Succession Management Automated?

Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=131

Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=131

But that story is changing! Although the succession management technology movement is young, at least two factors are accelerating the push for automation:

  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Increasing process effectiveness

Improving Operational Efficiency

High-performance organizations are pushing succession management broader and deeper into the organization. As the process touches employees from executive ranks to contingent workers, ensuring consistent application of the strategy is a must for efficiency.

Efficiency requires on-demand access to talent data and analytics to best assess current performance, anticipate future talent requirements, and define the gaps between the two. To enable these insights, high-performance organizations are investing in succession tools – namely access to online talent profiling tools, successor development tools, talent assessment and calibration tools.

To improve succession management process efficiency, 75% of high-performance organizations are using, or plan to use, an integrated talent technology suite inclusive of these succession functionalities.

Figure 2: What Type of SM Solution are/will you be using? (Overall Results)

    Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=117

Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=117

Increasing Process Effectiveness

Succession automation doesn’t stop at efficiency. Linking succession data with other talent process data (performance management, learning & development, career management, leadership development, workforce planning) improves the ability for leadership to make talent decisions to support business goals.

Having an enterprise-wide view of talent performance and potential from a single technology platform helps ensure that organizations are most effective at identifying high-potential and other top-performing talent and making the best decisions possible about where to place that talent based on their potential, readiness, and willingness. Integrated talent data to expose these insights is possible only through a technology solution that houses enterprise-wide successor data in a single platform.

Are Technology Budgets Making Room For Succession Automation?

You bet! Nearly 100% of high-performance organizations plan to significantly step up their overall investment on talent technology, and particularly so for succession automation and tools.

Figure 3: Succession Automation Budgets Expected to Rise

Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=124

Source: Brandon Hall Group, 2015 State of Succession Management Survey, n=124

The only way to reduce risk of a break in leadership and business continuity is through a high-performance succession strategy. A purchase of technology enables your strategy. Succession technology equips organizations to efficiently and effectively manage skills, vacancy, readiness, willingness, and transition risks associated with the grooming of high-potentials for critical roles.

With an anticipated shortfall in the sheer number of future leaders required, an expected increase in executive-level attrition, concern about reduced loyalty among high-potential Millennials, and an even sharper increase on diversity initiatives, can your organization afford to not invest in an enterprise-wide, automated succession strategy?

Until next time….

Laci Loew
Vice President and Principal Analyst, Talent Management
Brandon Hall Group

Laci Loew

A principal talent analyst and consultant with Brandon Hall Group, Laci is expert in all areas of human capital management particularly talent management, leadership, leadership development, and succession management. She has worked in the public and private sectors consulting global and matrix Fortune companies across all industries on integrated talent initiatives. Laci holds a bachelor of science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; earned her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management; and is currently a PhD candidate in organizational psychology. Laci’s hometown is Chicago and she is based in Las Vegas.

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