Succession Planning Is Technology "Wake-Up Call"

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<p><strong>Washington &mdash; Nov. 14</strong><br />Efforts to implement and improve succession planning programs are prompting many companies to reconsider the systems they use to manage talent, say experts at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a global consulting firm.<br /><br />&ldquo;With labor markets tight and an onslaught of retirements predicted, succession planning is a priority for many companies and especially boards of directors,&rdquo; said Brian Wilkerson, national practice director for talent management at Watson Wyatt. &ldquo;However, relying on intuition is no longer a viable succession plan. Instead, employers need to keep track of a broader pool of talent &mdash; and thoroughly analyze all candidates&rsquo; capabilities and experience. This is often more than current systems can handle, and it&rsquo;s serving as a technology wake-up call for companies.&rdquo;<br /><br />Watson Wyatt&rsquo;s 2007 HR Technology Trends study of 182 large companies found that a third of them plan to adopt new technology solutions for succession planning in the next two years. A similar share (33 percent) plan to change the way recruiting is administered. Furthermore, HR executives said their organizations were far less satisfied with current talent management delivery than with health and welfare, defined benefit and call center administration.<br /><br /><strong>Companies Adopting Talent Management Technology in Next Two Years<br /><br />Program Percentage of Companies Adopting Technology</strong><br /><br />Succession Planning &mdash; 33 percent<br /><br />Recruiting &mdash; 33 percent<br /><br />Learning Management &mdash; 29 percent<br /><br />Workforce Planning &mdash; 26 percent<br /><br />Modern succession planning programs reach across all levels and divisions of an organization to create talent pools from which future positions can be filled. Employers are increasingly focused on making these decisions more objective and data-based. This requires aggregating a vast array of data on candidates and on the organizations&rsquo; strategic plans.<br /><br />&ldquo;Talent management programs overall are increasingly complex,&rdquo; said Richard Hubbard, director of Watson Wyatt&rsquo;s U.S. technology and administration solutions practice. &ldquo;But many companies are missing opportunities to make them less complicated through technology solutions. While implementing a succession planning solution is driving many companies, putting in place an integrated talent management system can help streamline administration of a broad array of programs and can really pay off for employers.&rdquo;  <br /><br />More information on the Technology Trends study can be found at www.watsonwyatt.com/techtrends. <br /><br />A white paper, &ldquo;Planning for the Future: Next-Generation Practices in Succession Planning,&rdquo; can be found at http://www.watsonwyatt.com/research/whitepapers/successionplanning. </p>

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