Many organisations struggle to get meaningful career and succession plans up and running. The problem often is how to get the information to be able to plan. Perhaps let’s start with the end in mind.

The most common measures that used in succession planning is bench strength and the 9-Box matrix. Bench strength will give you an idea of what cover you have for critical and scarce jobs. The 9-box matrix will identify your high flyers, performers, solid citizens and those with low potential. Other parameters that may contribute to your risk is the likelihood of employees to leave.

We can also record how difficult it may be to replace an employee. The quickest way to get the base data is from source. That means getting managers to conduct career discussions and complete a talent assessment.

The career discussion gives the employee the opportunity to record their aspirations. Managers get an opportunity to discuss the employee’s prospects. Managers update the development plan and gather information to complete the talent assessment. The assessment will include a potential rating, a rating of the likelihood to leave and the difficulty of replacement. Performance is also recorded or pulled through from a performance system.

This assessment will also include the manager’s view of what positions the employee could potentially fill and by when. Technology can make the gathering of this information very easy because managers log in and complete the two forms. Once this is completed the technology can show the bigger picture of succession. The technology will provide basic information for discussion at a succession forum.