Companies lose talent through succession planning failures

In addition to slowing effective transfer of a business, recent research has indicated that succession planning failures are leading to top companies leaking their best talent.

Conducted by HR Innovation Practices Observatory, the data also indicated that the movement of talent may also be hindering companies, with many businesses continuing to use the ‘career ladder’ model which shifts talent vertically.

Using this approach means employees who have potential to thrive in other areas of the company are alienated. Instead, the use of a ‘lattice model’ is recommended in order to enable these individuals to demonstrate and utilise their talents in various sectors of the business and across industries.

Conducted on a panel of 37 HR executives, the study revealed that almost one in three businesses believe that the implementation of relevant HR processes – which could facilitate these ‘lattice models’ – is most greatly hindered by management commitment.

Commenting on the research was Professor Mariano Corso, Scientific Officer of the HR and Innovation Practices Observatory. He highlighted the importance of succession planning alongside an engaged and motivated workforce, in order for top talent to be retained.

“Top talent can lose engagement and motivation fast when not managed correctly and some may leave the organisation to seek out more varied professional experiences.”

“Yet with huge amounts of relevant data at their fingertips, HR departments have all the tools needed to do this.”

“The costs of hiring and replacing employees – combined with the effect of losing a top employee – can dramatically impact a company’s profits and morale.”

“Part of the solution lies within good career and succession planning procedures to avoid these situations altogether.”

Lisa Forrest, Global Head of Internal Talent Acquisition, also highlighted the relevance of the lattice model and the need for managers to embrace it where appropriate.

“What we’ve seen in recent years is that there’s an incorrect perception from a number of employers that colleagues want to work their way up a business, when in actual fact some find it much more rewarding to shift across departments and areas of specialisms.”

“Both Generation Z and Millennials – or the future workforce – by their very nature want to take greater control of their development, but they want more opportunities to learn new skills rather than just follow a rigid path into management.”

“It’s key that managers themselves both recognise and embrace this growing desire for a lattice model where appropriate, or they risk alienating and losing top talent – a much more costly approach in the long run than investing in talent planning tools.”


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