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Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi

The Art of Succession Planning: Plan Now To Succeed Tomorrow

It’s been surveyed by SAP/SuccessFactors that 63% of organizations do not have Succession Planning i.e. their business is running on high risk due to lack of proper Succession plan.

Most organizations do Succession Planning on paper by either just word of mouth or just looking at couple of performance traits, without even analyzing or comparing other facts which could be employee’s  potential, 360 reviews, qualification, achievements in past years, consistency in performance and various other parameters. Imagine a system providing all such details and let Succession planners compare and choose one among the best with all supporting facts.

The purpose of this blog is to learn more about the benefits of SAP/SuccessFactors beautiful offering: Succession Planning & how it can change the way customers run business today.

A) Why Succession Planning:

Do customers really need a Succession Planning system in place or they can do without it?

To answer this let’s look at below scenarios

1)     1) An organization with very shallow talent pools defined, spending huge amounts of unbudgeted money on recruiting when a key contributor walks away.

2)    2) A company calling an urgent roundtable meeting to discuss the attrition rate along with resignation and the replacements of a key players.

3)    3) Ever estimated the cost/time spent on working on getting a vacant position filled by an external agency and effort spent in bringing a replacement up to speed.

4)     4) A company with potential employees but lacking the career development planning to encourage them to be future leaders.

Don’t you think an organization would have better business growth and stability if their key people spend their time on profit-generation than filling vacant positions and getting a new hire up to speed.

How about a system that can help solve all above for you along with encouraging individual career development.

Succession Planning is the answer for the same & it can go great things for your business and of course we should not forget –

Best Run Businesses Run SAP 🙂

B) How to do Succession Planning?

An effective way of Succession Planning involves below steps:


1)     1) Define a Succession Planning Process.

This involves identifying your goal of Succession Planning and figuring out your process of identifying/nominating key positions/potential employees.


2)     2) Leverage tools of SuccessFactors Succession Planning

SuccessFactors Succession Planning provides lots of tools to make this journey of Succession Planning and execution a smoother process. More details on these tools is in next section.

3)     3) Career Development Planning

Succession planning without carving a Career development plan for your employees keeping in view their career aspirations, is of no use. Ensure that you develop the skill set of potential candidates and in turn retain them.


4)     4) Continuous Review of Succession & Development Planning Process

This is important as a well-defined process can only be successful if it involves regular reviews.

C) SuccessFactors Tools for smooth Succession Planning

SuccessFactors Succession Management provides integration with Employee Data, Personal( Org) data, Background Data, Trend (Ratings) Data, Competency Data,Families Roles & Job codes, Position Data and Learning Activities Data for customers along with below tools that you can use for your customers:

1)      1) Employee Profile/Scorecard: This is the heart & soul of Succession Planning. Make sure you have the maximum information added here. The more you have, the more information you would know about your workforce that would help you in better Succession Planning. Make best use of Talent Flags that helps you decide if the person is a good successor.

2)    2) Succession Org Chart: Main Succession features that would give you visibility of the entire organization in any roundtable discussion along with any Employee profile information about an employee. Also, this is where you would enter your Succession Plans.

3)    3) Lineage Chart: Helps identify the gap and provides an insight with the domino effect.

4)    4) Nomination: Choose among the various nomination methods (Role, Role Person, Legacy Position, MDF Position, and Talent Pools) that SuccessFactors provide and nominate Successors.

5)    5) Formless Approvals:  You can also add approvals to Succession nomination ( with or without Succession form).

6)    6) Role Based Permission: Permission what information you want people to see. This is important as some information is really confidential in Succession Management.

7)    7) Talent Search:  Helps to do company-wide searches (which can also be saved) to find the best-fit candidate.


8)    8) Side by Side Comparison: Compare Successors side-by-side to pick a successor quicker.

9)    9) Performance Potential Matrix: Plots employees in a chart (e.g. 9-Box, 16-box) to easily identify top and under performers. You can also see historical view in some years. Plus Succession provides flexibility of normalized ratings – E.g. converting your 5 point scale to 3 point scale for a 9 box matrix.

1C  10) Calibration: Calibration help perform rational assessment of employee’s performance and potential with the help of very useful drag-and-drop feature.

11   11) Talent Pools: Helps nominate employees to pools and provides a flexible tool for Succession Planning.

12   12) Presentations: You can create Presentations with Real Time Employee Data.

13   13) Development Goal Templates: Career development planning templates can be created for development plans of employees to track their growth.

14   14) Career Worksheet: Career worksheet enables employees to view and save organizational job roles and see where they fit in that and what they are considering for future. It also provides an understanding of what all goals have already been met and the kind of development work is required to move completely into a new considered role.

15   15) Career Path: You can go to employee’s Career Path from Career Worksheet itself and it provides a graphical view of the career paths from Employee’s current role to the new selected role/job role considering.

16   16) Team Insights: It is new feature added with latest Q4 release which enables managers to have access to important details and information about their direct reports through with a pre-packaged presentation available as a tile in Homepage.

D) Some Commonly Asked Questions:

1)     1) Does SucessFactors Succession help in planning the process?

Successfactors Succession Management provides all the tools/features as stated above to help execute Succession Planning with ease. But it’s important for your customers to figure out their process for Succession Planning – how you will conduct, meetings, how many levels you want to go down and this tool would help fit your process in the best possible way. 

2)     2) When should we do Succession Planning?

It’s good to do succession planning on a regular basis, if not all atleast some of the activities are recommended to be done regularly.

3)     3) How transparent our Succession planning should be?

It depends on organizations and you need to control sensitive information many times and sharing all data is not recommended.

4)     4) How much effort does it takes for Managers/HR in running the system?

For Managers, the only input that they generally need to provide is Talent Information about their direct reports and Succession Planning is generally done in roundtable discussion where HR would use the Succession tools to nominate successors in the system & no more effort is needed by anyone after the meeting.

SuccessFactors keeps on improving and innovating so stay tuned for more updates under Succession Planning as I am sure there’s lot more to happen in this space.

Would love to hear back from you with your comments/feedback/suggestions that may help me share my learnings/information in a better way with you.

Happy Learning!! 🙂

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      A great article...

      Author's profile photo Ankita Roy Chowdhury
      Ankita Roy Chowdhury

      Successfactors provides a great tool for identifying and managing the talent pools for effective succession management. Thanks for this very informative snapshot of the capabilities of this module!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice comprehensive article ! well done !

      Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi
      Sahiba Gandhi
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Harris, Pawan, Ankita ! Appreciate your feedback .

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Appreciate you on this nice article ...

      Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi
      Sahiba Gandhi
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Jwala ESS MSS for your feedback.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      This is a systematic approach to Succession Planning - thanks for the article. Most companies look to hiring instead of focusing on building their internal capability, with SuccessFactors Succession Planning they will now be able to understand how easy it is to develop successors.

      Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi
      Sahiba Gandhi
      Blog Post Author

      That's right Divya... Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Author's profile photo Rama Rani Rana
      Rama Rani Rana

      True.... growth of organisation and employees goes hand in hand. SF Succession Planning tool seems well discussed and researched in HR Practices.

      Good article Sahiba... Thanks for sharing.

      Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi
      Sahiba Gandhi
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Rama..Appreciate your feedback.

      Author's profile photo Ram Dodda
      Ram Dodda

      Great job with this.  Thanks for sharing.

      Author's profile photo Sahiba Gandhi
      Sahiba Gandhi
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Ram Dodda for your feedback .