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Indian IT: Succession planning is key

Feb 18, 2009

Management quality is a key parameter to consider while evaluating any software company, or for that matter any company. The ability to foresee future trends and lead the company forward are major factors that determine the company's future in a highly competitive industry. For seamless transfer of management quality from one leader to other leader, the company needs proper succession planning. The smooth continuation of a business depends on effective succession planning. It is a proactive approach to create a talent pool of candidates with the required potential and competencies to take the high positions in future and help in the growth of the organisation. In fact, it determines how business will be run once the leader or key person leaves.

Let us analyse how IT majors are doing their succession planning to maintain leadership position in the future.

Infosys: Infosys has set up the Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI) at its Mysore campus to identifying high performers and giving them opportunity to emerge as future leaders. The company identifies leaders from its multi-national, multi-cultural employees on the basis of several parameters. The chosen few undergo a three-year programme that includes training, personal development programme, interacting with other participants, understanding the company better and resolving real business issues.

Wipro: Another major IT company is Wipro, which has developed leaders through a well planned process. The succession planning programme is called Talent Review and Planning (TRP). At Wipro, the succession planning starts with identification of suitable candidate through regular quarterly talent engagement and development (TED) reviews, and action plans of each business unit and vertical. Then feedbacks about these candidates are gathered. Wipro has developed "Life Cycle Stage Development Program”. Here the employees who are identified to have high leadership talent are given training according to their level in the organisation. There are different kinds of programmes targeted towards different levels. Wipro has programs like 'entry level program', 'New leaders program', 'Wipro leader's program', 'Business leaders program' and 'Strategic leaders program'.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS): TCS has a systematic process for succession planning. TCS leadership programs are focused around 'practices' (industry verticals or services) and 'geographies' (for marketing). The top management is involved in selecting the leadership teams at each 'practice' and 'geography.' High performers are identified at the time of appraisals and their progress is monitored. Then these high performing employees are constantly moved across projects, practices and geographies to ensure that a high performing individual does not only move in a narrow hierarchical structure. The company also has a 'Think Tank', made up of people both at the senior management and one level below, these people are carefully selected for their strategic view and technology and domain competence. This 'Think Tank' plays a vital role in succession planning. In fact, this is another mechanism for creating and nurturing leaders.

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