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Technology & Succession Planning

Technology & Succession Planning

 As part of the “Cycles of Success: Employee Engagement, Career Development & Talent Management” series (visit, we conducted several interviews with Nicole Trapasso, divisional director of HR and organizational development at CPP, Inc. Over the next few months you’ll see blog posts from these interviews and more on topics related to talent management and the phases of the talent management life cycle. If you’d like to read more about career development from the personal or employee side, you can find the first blog post in the series here:

Technology’s Role in Succession Planning

Succession planning is a key part of the talent management life cycle. It is used to identify and develop high-potential employees to fill key leadership positions in the company over time, if and when the need arises. Many organizations recognize that this process is critical. In a 2014 succession planning survey by Human Capital Media Advisory Group,* approximately 70% of organizations surveyed reported that they have some sort of succession planning process in place. Yet roughly 62% of HealthofOrgPipelinethose organizations also reported that they do not have enough candidates to meet their needs. The other 30% of organizations surveyed have no succession plan at all.

At CPP, our philosophy of growing talent from within is part of our succession planning. As the “people development people,” we leverage a variety of learning opportunities, executive coaching, stretch assignments and assessments, and other tools.

Technology has made a positive impact on how organizations implement and manage succession planning—especially making it more efficient for larger organizations. For example, various talent management systems (TMSs) offer integrated modules to track succession planning, where HR and select managers can view a number of candidates at various levels of progress, integrated with performance and other key data factors. They can look at historical performance ratings as well as how many people are in which positions and departments within the organization so that they can see where they have gaps in the talent pipeline and identify potential at-risk employees.

Unfortunately, many employees leave their organization because they feel there is nowhere for them to progress to. Depending on the approach, part of succession planning is making employees aware that opportunities do exist within the organization, as the business evolves and grows, especially if the organization promotes from within (even if there’s no formal “career ladder” within the organization). You may want to consider publishing periodically the number of staff your company promotes each year.

At CPP, we publish the full library of job descriptions in our TMS, which supports succession planning by enabling staff and managers to see at any time what other jobs are potentially available and their qualification requirements. Employees with an interest in growing their career can look at next-level positions and see how what’s expected there might differ from what they’re currently doing. If they are interested in potentially transitioning to another department or job function, they could see view those responsibilities as well. Savvy employees will use this kind of information to take steps to gain the skills they need to keep moving forward in their career progression.

Publishing all job descriptions internally enables employees to do their own research and ascertain the next steps required for their professional growth—whether as part of a formal succession planning process or general development. We’ve found that this relatively straightforward approach of publishing your job description library can have a powerful impact when it comes to succession planning and retention.

Previous blogs on Talent Management:

Generational Spans in Talent

Meaningfulness and Engagement in Your Workforce

What is the Talent Management Life Cycle?  

Want more? See a directory of all the blogs for Cycles of Success, head to the blog directory here.

*Human Capital Media Advisory Group is the research arm of Talent Management magazine.

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