A Better Approach to Succession

Katie O’Brien
Network Manager
Leadership and Human Resources Research


Now more than ever, HR Leaders, managers, and executives face the challenge of attracting the right talent to fill key positions. With many executives close to retirement, Canadian organizations are facing serious succession challenges. For every two senior executives, organizations have only one job-ready or near job-ready successor.1 Organizations that take the initiative to analyze their bench strength and skills gaps and build a deep pool of talent will be better positioned to remain competitive in the marketplace.

A New Approach to Identifying and Developing Talent
In the new business environment, it is no longer sufficient to plan for succession at the executive level alone. In this era of knowledge-intensive skill sets and high competency levels, critically important job families and key positions also drive value. In a recent survey by The Conference Board of Canada, a large majority of respondents reported challenges recruiting quality candidates with critical skills (80 per cent) and hot skills (72 per cent).2

Today’s talent managers need to be proactive and develop a strategic plan for identifying, assessing, and developing talent that goes beyond simply filling the top spots. Succession management is an integrated process for progressively managing succession while supporting current workforce planning needs. It is an evolution from traditional replacement planning for executive positions to a broader and deeper review and management of the talent required both now and in the future.3

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