Seagate's succession-planning software helps managers evaluate employees for advancement

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Senior Writer, InformationWeek

November 14, 2003

2 Min Read

In 2001, well over half--62%--of new VPs and directors at disk-drive maker Seagate Technology LLC came from outside the company. This year, using internally developed Web-based succession-planning software, 22 of 25 such appointments, 88%, are people from within Seagate, says Karen Hanlon, VP of human resources.

The succession-management tool has been very well-received, Hanlon says. Previously, "we didn't have the processes or tools to help us evaluate our own talent, but now we do." The software lets the $65 billion-a-year company better evaluate the credentials and career aspirations of all 1,000 VPs and directors, providing better visibility of the talent available to fill positions.

Promoting from within has boosted morale and helped reduce turnover, Hanlon says. "We did so much external hiring [prior to developing the software] that some people would leave the company and then later come back to new jobs at Seagate, thinking that would be the best way to advance to higher positions."

Three IT and two HR employees developed the software, which Seagate has licensed to PerformaWorks Inc., a provider of goal-driven performance-management software that Seagate uses. Seagate developed the succession-planning app because it didn't see anything like it on the market. The PerformaWorks Succession Management module will be available early next year as a standalone package and an add-on to the PerformaWorks Enterprise Suite.

Seagate plans to use the software with its next level of employees, 4,000 managers, Hanlon says. Succession planning is a very sensitive subject because it identifies candidates for top posts. Seagate foresaw the need to include security in its tool "so information didn't go into the wrong hands and become too visible," she says.

Each executive who uses the software is responsible for updating his or her own information twice a year. Profiles include work experience, accomplishments, education, language fluency, certifications, and specialized skills. They also include information on whether people are willing to relocate and for how long; a self-assessment of various competencies, such as teamwork, innovation, vision, and results management; and career goals and plans for achieving them, as well as choosing functions outside their current area in which they would be interested in working.

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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