A lack of succession planning can adversely affect an organization in a variety of ways, from the absence of strategic direction to decreased productivity to weakened financial performance. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of companies said they've been adversely affected financially by poor succession planning or a lack thereof.
Employers cited the recession as an obstacle to effective succession planning. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of companies said that the recession has left gaps in their succession plans due to downsizing or workers leaving voluntarily.
"As the economy gradually improves, it's important for organizations to proactively plan for the future of their businesses," said Jamie Womack, vice president of corporate marketing and sales training at CareerBuilder. "Having a blueprint on who will succeed management at all levels is a critical facet to your overall strategy, as it ensures that your organization will be able to tackle future challenges and compete in your industry."
When asked what is lacking in their current succession planning program, companies said the following:
•Not enough opportunities for employees to learn beyond their own roles – 39 percent
•Process isn't formalized – 38 percent
•Not enough investment in training and development – 33 percent
•Not actively involving employees or seeking their input – 31 percent
•It only focuses on top executives – 29 percent
Managers also reported that workers' awareness of and input on their own succession planning is important. Forty-nine percent of employers said employees don't set up career paths with their managers with timelines and milestones.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 1,097 employers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over with 1,001 or more employees between February 21 and March 10, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 1,097 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.96 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.