Best fit is the best way to win at talent and succession management

Press Releases

9 Jun 2015

The author of a new guide that offers concise, accessible advice on talent and succession management, recommends a ‘best fit’ approach rather than pushing generic ‘procedures’. Wendy Hirsh’s practical two-page guide, published by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), is based on in-depth research, extensive consulting experience and ongoing conversations with leading practitioners.

Effective talent and succession management’ is the first in a new series of concise papers for busy HR professionals and line managers. It offers two practical elements: a framework of five key aspects of talent and succession management, which can be used to discuss and agree a strategy, and ten practical tips covering aspects of design and implementation.

The framework presented in this latest IES paper has been found especially useful in strategic workshops for senior managers and HR professionals and also in helping line managers understand how to approach this tricky area.

Wendy Hirsh described the need to give practitioners and managers something clear and simple to work with, saying,

‘My experience is that talent management is still a pretty confusing area for HR people. Its implementation is too often about forcing a standardised approach to talent identification with little understanding or practical action coming from it. This in turn alienates line managers who feel they are just feeding HR with data. It really doesn’t have to be that way!

‘A best fit approach stands a much greater chance of success’, she continues, ‘partly because talent and succession approaches need to be influenced by their context and partly because involving managers in both strategy and design helps them understand what they are trying to do and gives processes a better chance of being workable.

 ‘The tips in this guide treat talent management and succession planning as one integrated activity. I am still surprised that some businesses present these to managers as though they are separate things, but that’s partly because neither are very well understood in their modern and more flexible forms.’

‘Effective talent and succession management’ is available to download now.

Effective talent and succession infographicAn infographic has also been published and may be posted and shared online.





Notes to editor

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market, and HR policy and practice.


IES tweets from @EmploymtStudies

About the author

Dr Wendy Hirsh is a consultant and researcher on a range of people management issues especially career development, talent management, succession planning, workforce planning and leadership development. Her particular interests are in considering both organisational and individual perspectives; linking employee development more strongly with changing business and skill needs; and helping managers and employees to tackle these career and future-related aspects of employment more clearly and more confidently.

Read Wendy’s full profile

Further reading

More from IES on talent and succession planning: