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Job board CareerBuilder today released a study positing that one-third of larger companies do not have succession planning in place.

Succession planning ensures there are successors lined up for critical roles.

CareerBuilder, which polled more than 1,000 employers with 1,001 or more employees, also reported that 50% of senior management (CEO, CFO, Senior VP, etc.) and 52% of those in a vice president position said they do not have a successor for their current role.

The affects of zero succession planning are typically immediate and detrimental. More than one-quarter (27%) of companies said they’ve been adversely affected financially by poor succession planning or a lack thereof.

As for reasons why, employers said the recession hampered effective succession planning. More than one-quarter (28%) of companies said that the recession has left gaps in their succession plans due to downsizing or workers leaving voluntarily.

A breakdown of the survey results found that when asked what is lacking in their current succession planning program, companies said:

Not enough opportunities for employees to learn beyond their own roles – 39%
Process isn’t formalized – 38%
Not enough investment in training and development – 33%
Not actively involving employees or seeking their input– 31%
It only focuses on top executives – 29%

“As the economy gradually improves, it’s important for organizations to proactively plan for the future of their businesses,” said Jamie Womack, vice president of corporate marketing and sales training at CareerBuilder. “Having a blueprint on who will succeed management at all levels is a critical facet to your overall strategy, as it ensures that your organization will be able to tackle future challenges and compete in your industry.”

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