Planning who will make it big in your company next is a quintessential human endeavor.
You have to reach out to people, court them and create the kind of developmental opportunities that will not only give them the skills they need, but introduce them to the organization’s other executives. But before you can do that, you have to know who they are and what skills they currently possess. As luck would have it, cataloging that kind of information is perfectly suited to talent-management software.
A good system can help with employee buy-in by easing the process. When it’s simplified so employees can find the information they need faster, they are better able to see the advantages of the process, says Anthony Abbatiello, a senior manager in the human performance consulting practice Accenture, which is incorporated in Bermuda. The rewards of succession planning are more apparent “when the business understands the value they get of being able to profile a job, and say, ‘Where are the skills we require, and where are the candidates in our pipeline?’ ” Abbatiello notes.
One system that does just that is Cornerstone Enterprise from Santa Monica, Calif.-based Cornerstone OnDemand, a provider of on-demand human capital and performance management. The program can be configured to track data such as readiness to succeed as defined by number of months or years, skills competency and overall potential, says president/CEO Adam Miller.
Typically, he explains, his clients do succession planning according to pay grade, with planning done only for those jobs that meet a specified pay level. Each manager fills out an electronic form they receive via e-mail that features a link to a page in which he is asked to answer questions about subordinates. Once completed, the forms get e-mailed back to a centralized database in the software.
All this convenience and value add, of course, comes with a price. To purchase just the succession planning module of the Cornerstone Enterprise Suite will cost a company of 10,000 people about $50,000 a year, Miller estimates.
Those in the market for software to aid their succession planning can also turn to Arlington, Va.-based Plateau Systems, a provider of performance management systems, including its newly launched OnDemand platform. For a company of about 1,000 people, the cost of the succession planning and performance appraisal modules in an on-demand, Web-based platform would be about $30 per user annually, says chairman and CEO Paul Sparta.
For a company of about 10,000 to 15,000 with 1,000 to 1,500 registered users, the price of the TM SIGAL Succession Planning solution from Montreal-based human capital management systems provider Technomedia Training, amounts to a set-up fee of $75,000 plus a yearly equivalent charge, says Jacques Gaumond, vice president, sales and marketing. The set-up fee includes needs analysis, personalization, testing and implementation, and the recurring charge covers right-to-use of the software, maintenance, support and standard enhancements and hosting services.
The investment may be worth it since a talent-management system allows you to expand previous efforts, Miller says. “It’s pretty easy to do succession planning on paper when you’re looking for one replacement. It’s gets much, much harder when you’re looking at 200 people, and it’s virtually impossible when you look at 2,000 people.” —M.W.
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