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Companies Are Most Guarded About Succession Planning

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6/14/2012

Succession plans are among the areas most closely guarded by top management, according to a survey of nearly 300 senior managers and executives by AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of American Management Association. While companies are increasingly open when it comes to most HR policies and processes, in almost half of the organizations surveyed there is limited transparency when it comes to succession planning.

Forty-six percent of respondents said their companies are “not at all” transparent with succession planning and 43% said they are “somewhat” transparent. Only 11% said their organizations are very transparent on this initiative. Similar to this issue, 38% keep their high-potential selection criteria secret and another 28% said they do not share information on admission to leadership programs. In contrast, with respect to employee survey findings, 41% of respondents reported that their organization is very transparent and 35% reported similar openness on corporate strategy.

AMA Enterprise, which provides companies and government organizations with high-impact training solutions, conducted the survey to assess the trend toward greater transparency in employee development and career management.

How transparent is your company with respect to each of the following?

Very

Somewhat

Not at all

Employee survey findings

41%

38%

21%

Corporate strategy

35%

49%

17%

Performance reviews

33%

47%

20%

Employee assessments

28%

49%

23%

Availability of coaching

27%

40%

33%

Career advancement opportunities

21%

50%

29%

Organization restructuring

20%

47%

33%

High potential selection criteria

18%

44%

38%

Admission to leadership programs

15%

47%

38%

Succession planning

11%

43%

46%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Generally speaking, organizations are moving toward greater workplace transparency,” said Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President for AMA Enterprise. “There’s an understandable sensitivity about who is identified as a high-potential leader, but if the process is mysterious then selection may come across as political or at least capricious, and this is certainly counterproductive, and potentially even destructive.”

Greater openness about leadership development means equal opportunity and higher engagement since there is a sense of fairness in how all employees are treated, observed Edwards. “We encourage clients to be open with their succession planning efforts and to help employees to understand their role in the organization today as well as what role they may play in the firm’s future success. This would only help to align employees with the business strategy and foster a sense of purpose and commitment at the individual level.”

The survey population consisted of 289 senior-level business, human resources, management professionals and employee contacts drawn from the AMA database of contacts. 

With more than 85 years’ experience and headquartered in New York, American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a global leader of comprehensive talent development. AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of AMA dedicated to building corporate and government solutions, transforms enterprise-wide talent to fuel a culture of innovation, high performance and optimal business results.