U.S. firms guarded about succession planning: Survey

More than one-third keeping high-potential selection criteria secret
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/15/2012

Succession plans are among the areas most closely guarded by top management in the United States, according to a recent survey by AMA Enterprise.

Nearly one-half (46 per cent) of the 300 executives surveyed said their companies are not at all transparent with succession planning, while 43 per cent said they are somewhat transparent, found the survey.

Only 11 per cent said their organizations are very transparent on this initiative.

Similar to this issue, 38 per cent keep their high-potential selection criteria secret and another 28 per cent said they do not share information on admission to leadership programs.

“Generally speaking, organizations are moving toward greater workplace transparency,” said Sandi Edwards, senior vice-president at AMA Enterprise. “There’s an understandable sensitivity about who is identified as a high-potential leader, but if the process is mysterious then selection may come across as political or at least capricious, and this is certainly counterproductive, and potentially even destructive.”

Greater openness about leadership development means equal opportunity and higher engagement since there is a sense of fairness in how all employees are treated, said Edwards.

“We encourage clients to be open with their succession planning efforts and to help employees to understand their role in the organization today as well as what role they may play in the firm’s future success,” she said. “This would only help to align employees with the business strategy and foster a sense of purpose and commitment at the individual level.”

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