HR execs give mixed grades to leadership pipelines

Many have not identified future leaders for critical roles: Survey
||Last Updated: 05/20/2011

Human resources and talent management executives give mixed grades for the quality of their organizations’ leadership pipelines, according to a survey by Right Management.

When 1,262 executives in the United States were asked “Do you have future leaders identified for critical roles in your organization?” only six per cent said yes for all critical roles while 17 per cent said yes for most, 55 per cent said yes for some and 22 per cent said no, for any critical roles.

“Organizations are all over the map when it comes to implementing a coherent leadership development program,” said Michael Haid, Right Management’s senior vice-president for talent management. “What’s really striking is that fewer than one-in-five has no one slated to take over any key positions. And we’re not talking about small companies.”

A majority (57 per cent) of the respondents said succession planning had become a higher priority in the past year, while 17 per cent said it has become a lower priority. For the rest there was no change in priority.

These results suggest the need for succession planning is becoming more evident but actual succession management strategies and implementation plans are lagging behind, said Haid.

“There’s a growing recognition that management succession is no luxury. Board members, executives and business leaders are now openly acknowledging that talent management plans —which include succession management — are absolutely essential for sustained performance in today’s organizations, as talent is now seen as one of the only competitive differentiators left,” he said. “The world is chaotic and unforeseen events can change a company’s situation overnight, so having a depth of leadership talent as well as a genuine plan for all eventualities are more important than ever. In fact, weak bench strength throughout the company can erode employee engagement and reduce overall performance.”

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