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Big data use vital in CEO succession planning

This is in line with findings from The HR@Moore Survey from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina which looked at the assessment of CEO successor candidates at 560 large US-based companies. The study found that current practises are largely insufficient in determining if candidates have the potential to make the step up to CEO level.

Although 95 per cent of companies surveyed used past performance profiles when assessing internal candidates, Patrick Wright, Thomas C Vandiver Bicentenial chair at the University of South Carolina, recommends that assessment processes must address three things: performance, capability and potential.

Wright explains “Because the CEO role requires an almost exponential change in complexity, accountability, visibility, and communication, we suspected firms would invest heavily in gathering as much information as possible. However, this proved not to be the case.” He continues, “More information gathered over the course of a candidate’s career would provide a greater foundation for accurately predicting who will quickly and effectively adapt to these increased requirements.”

Commenting on Wright’s findings, Nick Owen, CEO of executive search and selection firm Veredus said:

“Recruiting at senior level is no mean feat as the skills required of a CEO are broad, complex, and often ambiguous. The role of a CEO places new requirements on an individual that they may have never even experienced before and, as such, single or disjointed performance indicators are unlikely to be effective in determining the best candidates. By using all available data when mapping the careers of their employees, organisations can ensure that talent is effectively developed and pipelined for the future. Companies who fail to capitalise on the analytical capabilities that contemporary data management systems offer are certainly missing a trick.”

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