Implementing a formal succession planning process with the SuccessFactors Succession Management module enables organizations to identify, nominate, and plan the development of future leadership of an organization. HR, talent management professionals, and business leaders are typically impressed with the functionality and broad access to talent information that the system provides. With the increased transparency and access to talent across the organization, there several configuration questions that organizations new to succession planning typically encounter.
In this blog post, we interview Jose Lopez, Knowledge Manager for Succession Planning and Career and Development Planning at Aasonn for his perspective on how open the system may be configured and who in the organization should be responsible for nominating succession candidates and accessing succession data in the system.
KH: Jose, you have shared with me that the original design of the SuccessFactors succession planning module was designed to be “fluid” process. Could you tell us a little bit more about the original design of the system from your experience at SuccessFactors?
JL: Yes, by design the SuccessFactors Succession Management solution has been designed to be a fluid tool and process. Fluid means that the Succession Planning process is available throughout the year for managers or Talent Management professionals to be able to nominate succession candidates at any time vs. making it just a one-time event within a given year. The design works in a way that any active employee in the database can be nominated to be a successor for any role or position.
This approach makes sense to me as candidates for certain roles or positions may not always be candidates working in similar roles. In some cases you may have a candidate in a completely different part of the organization that people feel is a great candidate, but could be potentially overlooked if the design of the system was not fluid as it relates to identifying candidates.
KH: For organizations that are new to succession planning, having an open nomination process may be a significant culture change. Can you give us an example of how organizations have managed the candidate nomination process?
JL: While it is not possible to restrict the Succession candidates that can be selected as nominees, companies do take special care in determining who the Succession Planners in the company will be and for which roles or positions they can nominate for. The solution comes with a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing the proper permission strategy that makes sense for a company. I’ve seen different approaches taken.
If the culture is more oriented to openness, then I have had customers who do expose the Succession tools and process to all leaders in the company and restrict them to only have visibility down their hierarchy. For other companies for which this is a more private process, I’ve seen where only a few individuals having access to the tools and process and these individuals facilitate the process of collecting the data themselves.
KH: To be a bit more specific, the succession management module includes a feature called “Talent Search” which enables users to find employee that meet specific criteria such as language capability on geographic mobility. How have your client organizations typically managed access to the Talent Search functionality?
JL: Talent Search definitely brings interesting challenges for customers. For customers who do expose the Talent Search tool to Leaders/Managers in the company, the most common strategy I’ve seen over the years with this tool is that Leaders/Managers are restricted to only be able to search on all levels down their management hierarchy. All customers usually identify only a few or one individual that may have the ability to search and see data for the entire company. The good news is that the SuccessFactors Product Management team is planning in the near future a major overhaul to the Talent Search tool that improves the usability and increases flexibility on the permission strategy.
KH: Jose, are there any other important configuration decisions regarding access of permission that project teams should think about as they configure Succession Management?
For any project team about to embark on a Succession Management implementation, you should first familiarize yourselves on the tools that make up Succession Management. By gaining a better understanding of the tools available, this will enhance your ability in crafting your permission strategy to help answers the following key questions.
I always ask my customers:
1) Who will have access to the tools?
2) Which specific tools should they have access to?
3) Which employees should they be allowed to see when accessing the tools?
Answering these questions will help an organization develop a permission strategy that fits with their culture and talent management strategy.
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