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June 13, 2019

How technology supports better succession planning and management

Recent research finds that companies with effective succession planning programs are more likely to use technology and tools to enable process. Here, we discuss how leading companies can better use technology to support succession planning and management success.

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In a previous post, we discussed findings from’s recent research report sponsored by Ceridian, about barriers organizations face when it comes to effective succession planning.

The report, which surveyed 500 HR professionals working for companies of all sizes, found that key barriers to successful succession management programs include organizations not making it a priority, and not having a defined process.

According to the report, The state of succession management 2019, respondents who self-identified as having effective succession management programs at their organizations tend to use technology to support their succession planning and management process.

Future outlook

Another interesting finding from the report is that while over three-quarters of respondents (78%) said succession management will become more important in the next three years, and 68% believe it will become broader in scope, less than half (46%) said they’ll rely more on succession management technology in the next three years.

However, there’s a difference in future outlook between organizations with effective succession management programs and those with less effective ones. Respondents from companies with effective programs are more likely to rely on succession management technology in the future (65%). They are also more likely to say their succession pipelines will become more inclusive and more diverse.

Learn more about how companies with effective succession management are managing their processes

As identified in the report, here are some key ways organizations can use technology and tools to support succession planning success.

Use formal assessment tools

Organizations with effective succession management programs are more likely to use formal assessment tools (like psychometric tests or scientifically validated tools) than those with less effective programs. In fact, this was the biggest differentiator between effective and less effective programs in terms of how they assess employee skill competencies.

More than half (54%) of respondents who work at organizations with effective programs use formal assessment tools to gauge leadership capabilities, while only 36% of organizations with less effective programs do so.

The takeaway for leaders is that supplementing personal opinions and human judgement with data – whether psychometric assessment tools, or other sources – is important. This not only reduces the potential for cognitive or unconscious bias, but also helps organizations better mine their complete talent pools for succession candidates.

Download the report to find out about best practices from organizations with effective succession planning programs.

Integration with other talent management programs

Talent management programs tend to influence one another so it makes sense for them to be integrated in some way. Succession management, for example, should be aligned with learning programs and performance management (specifically, goal setting) so that succession candidates receive the training and experience they need to prepare them for key future roles.

The data shows, however, that just 43% of HR professionals agree or strongly agree that succession planning at their organization is integrated with other talent management programs. This suggests succession management could be strengthened by integrating it as part of an organization’s greater talent strategy.

Streamlining process, planning, and employee development

According to the report, only one-third of HR professionals agree or strongly agree that their succession management technology is sufficient. Too often, organizations still rely on binders of written information about candidates. If decision-makers want information that is not in the binder, then it can be hard to access.

A database or software to access employee profiles are useful tools so that succession management leaders can easily look up information for each candidate.

Succession management software can also help map out the succession plan so managers see the identified successors for each job and can check for problems, such as one individual being slated as a potential successor for many different jobs.

Another key component of succession management is the ability to track development needs and opportunities. In some cases, this may require integration with other learning and development (L&D) tools, such as learning management systems.

Learn more about using technology to support succession planning

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