May 17

5 Shocking Succession Planning Statistics: The Harsh Reality of How Much NO Succession Plan Is Costing You

Competitive, challenging, and constantly changing – that is today’s marketplace. As a leader, there is so little you can control; so many shifts are happening that can negatively impact your ability to be successful.

In a landscape like this, the leaders that succeed are the ones who are clear on what they can control, those who have a razor-like focus on their priorities, and those that understand that their best path to growth and profitability lies in the talent they attract, retain and develop.

The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) reports that the average cost of a new hire is about $4000, and it can take anywhere from 45 to 70 days to fill a position. In addition, it can take up to 45 to 60 days for a new hire to get up and running and another year for them to be fully productive. The cost of that to your company’s bottom line can be devastating.

Open positions, turnover, and lack of talent are a constant drain on the bottom line and a loss in productivity. They can be a serious drain on the employees who carry the load, causing more employees to leave, more open positions, and a cycle that repeats itself. As leaders, you know talent is critical to your success, but most of you are still struggling to solve this challenge. Let’s look at the statistics.

5 Shocking Succession Planning Statistics

    1. CEO turnover is now the highest it has been in 20 years, with the average tenure of a CEO being less than five years.
    2. Companies spend more than $370 billion on leadership development programs, yet 5 out of 6 HR Managers are dissatisfied with their results.
    3. Only 35% of organizations have a formalized succession planning process for critical roles.
    4. More than 74% of leaders report they are unprepared and lack the training for the challenges they face in their roles.
    5. Sixty percent of executives fail within the first 18-months of being promoted or hired.


Tough statistics and a harsh reality you all need to face as leaders. While those statistics sound depressing, they are also screaming for the opportunity. Because the leader, the business owner, and the CEO who can turn things around will be the ones who can win in today’s marketplace and gain a serious competitive advantage.

Let’s look at the 5 Strategies Every CEO Needs To Implement To Win The War On Talent

1. Commit

First and foremost; you need to commit. As the leader, this needs to be your job and responsibility. Not outsource to anyone else, and you focus on it every single day. Ask yourself what are you doing to help your organization retain talent, find future talent, and develop them.

2. Build A Plan

Get a plan and build a strategy. Take a long hard look at the critical roles you have, the talent you have on board, and the talent you are going to need. Do a gap analysis on your leadership depth, and then build the actions and steps needed to take to close the gap.

3. Start Small

Start small, and do not try to tackle all of your leadership challenges at once. Select a few positions in your company, and create leadership succession for those roles. This is a long process, and to keep it going, you are going to need to role model the process and set yourself up for some easy wins.

4. Create the Culture

As a leader, simply by focusing on building talent and making it a priority, you set the tone that that is what is valued in your organization. Once you have your strategy in place, encourage everyone in your organization to develop talent and develop their successor. Create the culture by making it criteria for advancement. In order to move up in the company, you need to have selected, trained, and developed a leader who is ready to step into your position.

5. Reward & Recognize

What you as the leader focus on expands. The more you focus your time and energy on leadership development, the more leaders you will gain. Reward and recognize the behaviors in your company that support your leadership development objectives.

Winning the war on talent is not easy, but it is doable. As a leader, you need to focus your time and energy on this critical issue for your company. Follow these strategies, and you’ll build a culture that values your talent, you’ll see your employees engage in the process, and you’ll build your leadership bench and stop the turnover and loss of productivity that goes with it!

Ready to learn more about how to attract, retain and fully develop talent in today’s challenging marketplace. Check out our award-winning book on succession planning.


Meridith Elliott Powell

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, highly engaging corporate motivational keynote speaker Meridith Elliott Powell delivers a cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. Meridith’s presentations are full of powerful content, highly interactive, and fun. She helps her clients learn the leadership development, sales and business growth strategies to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage.

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