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Survey: Formal succession planning on the decline in the U.S.

Alexandria, Va. -- A poll from the Society of Human Resource Management, released Thursday, showed that the number of U.S. organizations with a formal succession plan in place decreased during the past five years from 29% in 2006 to 23% in 2011.

While less than a quarter of businesses have a formal plan in place, the numbers improve when informal plans are considered. More than one-third, or 38%, of human resources professionals said their organization currently has an informal succession plan or process in place (up from 29% in 2006).
The number who said their organizations have no intentions to develop a plan remained mostly unchanged from 16% in 2006 to 17% in 2011.

“The number one reason organizations are not developing formal succession planning is because more immediate projects are taking precedence — not surprising given that organizations are focusing their energies on dealing with an uncertain economic outlook,” said Evren Esen, manager, Survey Research Center at SHRM. “Still, succession planning has significant strategic implications for organizations and should not be put on the back burner, especially during times of economic volatility.”