Comprehensive Global Korn Ferry Study Shows Only One Third of Executives are Satisfied with Succession Management Outcomes
Key Findings Show Less than One-Quarter say they have a Solid Pipeline of “Ready Now” Candidates and Organizations are Over-Reliant on External Hires
The study and corresponding report point to an alarming rate of dissatisfaction among senior leaders and executives, with only one-third of respondents (36 percent) saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with their company’s succession management programs, and less than one-quarter (23 percent) saying they have a solid pipeline of “ready now” candidates.
“Succession management programs often fail because they’re static,” said
RJ Heckman, president of Korn Ferry’s
The study also finds that more than three-quarters of executives (78 percent) say their organization’s succession management programs only include the title of “vice president” and above.
“There’s significant risk when succession management programs don’t go
deep enough into an organization,” said
The study points to missed opportunity and alienating potential successors as the most significant risks of succession management failure. It also shows that more than half of respondents feel their organizations are not addressing these risks.
“Unfortunately, many companies fail to align their talent programs. Employees may be on a succession chart, but those individuals have no relationship to high-potential programs,” said Crandell. “In that case, there are high-potentials who are being identified and may even be going through great development programs, but when it comes to promotions, other people— inside or out— get those positions.”
The study also shows that when looking at filling open leadership positions, most executives feel the right mix of “build” (develop within) versus “buy” (hire outside) should be 2:1. However, the majority still end up going outside more often than they would like to obtain the talent they need.
“The ideal mix of build vs. buy does depend on an organization’s business strategy and its maturity,” said Crandell. “For example, a startup company may have to rely more on buying talent. But no matter the strategy, when companies are over-reliant on external hires, it probably indicates a lack of self confidence in the succession management process and the fact that the program doesn’t go deep enough.”
About the Study
Tracy Kurschner, 612.309.3957