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Data Watch: Succession Planning

Recent SHRM research shows that business leaders are more certain about having a succession plan and following it when the time comes. HR professionals take a different view on succession plan development, usage and goals.


Two businessmen running with a briefcase.


​Succession Planning Differs for Executives, HR Professionals

Recent SHRM research shows that business leaders are more certain about having a succession plan and following it when the time comes. HR professionals take a different view on succession plan development, usage and goals.  











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64% of HR professionals say that their organization has a succession plan in place or plans to develop one. This is compared to 97% of business leaders.

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HR professionals at small organizations (46%) are more likely to say that their organization doesn’t have a succession plan in place than HR professionals at medium (31%) and large (27%) organizations.











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HR plays a greater role in driving business decisions about succession pipelines at larger organizations. HR professionals at large organizations (64%) are more likely to say that HR staff drive decisions about who is included in their organization’s pipeline than those at medium (44%) and small (32%) organizations.


Nearly all business leaders (98%) with a succession plan in place say that their organization often or always follows through with these plans, compared to 63% of HR professionals.

Only 2% of business leaders say their organization sometimes follows the succession plans in place, versus 30% of HR professionals.
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For HR professionals that say their organization doesn’t have a succession plan in place, the most commonly cited reasons for not having a plan include that their organization lacks the time and resources to develop one (31%), their organization is too small to have one (18%), and their organization is family-operated and owned (15%).

​According to HR professionalsthe most important considerations that go into their thinking about succession plans include business performance (59%)impact of the role on organizational success (59%) and knowledge of organizational culture (50%). 9.jpg
​According to business leaders with succession plans in place, the most important consideration that goes into their thinking about succession decisions is DE&I goals (61%), business performance (59%) and knowledge of organizational culture (41%).
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