What’s the Difference Between Succession Management and Talent Reviews?

By Marcie Van Houten

Is there a difference or are they pieces of one holistic strategic talent process? And can you have one without the other?  First, let me give a quick definition of each.  Succession planning (or management) is about creating succession slates or talent pools in support of a critical job or position or sets thereof. And then using those plans to help mitigate risk and plan talent needs for the organization.  Talent reviews (known by other names often) are sets of meetings where managers and executives come together to review, discuss and often heatedly debate the merits and potential of their employees, and then place and sometimes calibrate that talent on a performance to potential matrix.  These are some of the most strategic conversations happening in conference rooms across the globe.

I speak with a lot of organizations about their practices in this area and the answers to these questions are as varied and nuanced as there are organizations thinking about them.  Some are passionate about their talent review processes and have a very evolved and thoughtful approach.  They really know their people, where their talent is, and the opportunities they plan to offer them.  And to them that is their succession process.  They may never create a slate of named candidates for a job or assign employees to formal talent pools.  

On the flip side there are other organizations that create slates and slates and often multiple talent pools to support their strategic positions.  Through these, they are able to mitigate the risk associated with having a key player leave their organization.  And for them, that is their succession process.  Some will start from the lower levels of their organization and roll up their succession plans, while other organizations only cover their top 200 executives and key positions with plans. 

And then there are organizations that leverage some of all of these.  Ultimately, the goals are to increase employee engagement, reduce talent-related risk, ensure the right talent is aligned to the strategic initiatives and to drive business value.  The approaches are as unique as the organizations they represent and the business opportunities they are looking to seize upon.  

And that's ok.  It's great in fact. Because one thing that is common is the recognition that the need to know your people and align your top talent to the future needs of the organization is mission critical. Sure, there are a set of commonly recognized best practices and guiding principles for all of this.  There is no one right or perfect answer.  And that is what makes this all so much darn fun. 

With Talent Review and Succession Management from Oracle HCM Cloud, we’ve blended the ability to support your strategic talent review conversations with both succession plans and talent pools allowing for one very seamless and interactive process. So whether you create a lot of succession plans, only focus on talent pools, have a robust talent review process, or all of the above, Oracle has you covered.

I’m looking forward to spending time with our customers at the upcoming OHUG Global Conference 2014 happening June 9-13 in Las Vegas.  It’s an opportunity for me to talk to customers about their business and how they are doing strategic talent processes like talent reviews and succession.  I hope to see you there.

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Marcie Van Houten brings over 20 years of management consulting, information systems and human capital management experience to her role as director of product strategy at Oracle. Ms. Van Houten has spent the past several years at Oracle working closely with customers to help drive the direction of the company's talent and succession management applications. Additionally, she spent nine years at PeopleSoft as Director of Information Systems leading human capital management implementation projects.

Marcie Van Houten lives in Walnut Creek, California, and holds a MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  You can follow her on Twitter: @MarcieVH


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