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Only a third of executives are satisfied with their succession management programmes

The study points to an alarming rate of dissatisfaction as, with only a third of respondents (36 per cent) saying they are satisfied or vemong senior leaders and executivery satisfied with their company’s succession management programmes, and less than a quarter (23 per cent) saying they have a solid pipeline of “ready now” candidates. 

The study also reveals that more than three-quarters of executives (78 per cent) believe their organisation’s succession management programmes only pertain to very senior levels of management.

As a result, the majority of executives still end up seeking talent externally to fill open leadership positions, even though they feel the ideal mix of developing talent internally compared to hiring it from the outside would be 2:1.

Steve Newhall, managing partner at Korn Ferry Leadership & Talent Consulting, UK, commented, “Succession management programmes often fail because they are static and don’t look beyond the needs of a snapshot in time. Effective succession management is an ongoing process that should run deep into an organisation, not merely look at the top levels of management.

“There are several potential CEOs within most large organisations and many of them are never discovered by their employers. Identifying future leaders and equipping them with the skills and experiences to lead the enterprise 10, 15 or 20 years down the line can bring great rewards to a business.”

The study points to missed opportunity and alienating potential successors as the most significant risks of succession management failure. It also shows that more than half of respondents feel their organisations are not addressing these risks. 

Newhall explained, “A key issue that we see in many companies is the failure to ensure that succession management is aligned with other talent management initiatives. So an employee might be on a succession chart, but still not on a development programme for high-potential employees. Or they may be on a development programme yet be undeservedly passed over for promotion because the two aren’t properly integrated.

“The end result of poorly planned succession management is that organisations waste potential leadership talent. Yes, of course companies sometimes need to look outside their organisation to fill a particular role, especially at early stages in their development, but most companies are over-reliant on external hires and it is something they could address by developing a proper integrated succession management programme.”


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