Peter Howes, SuccessFactors on Career Management


   I (virtually) attended HCI’s Talent Strategy and Workforce Planning conference this week and will be posting on some of the WFP and data stuff from there over the next few days.

However the most interesting piece for me was Peter Howes’ session which included some insightful inputs on WFP but particularly this slide on career management.

Peter notes that upwards promotion can’t be an effective focus for career management.  So in the data his group at SuccessFactors (previously InfoHRM/Inform) has collected, 50-60% of employees are never promoted and about another 30% will only have a maximum of another two promotions.

We therefore need to think more laterally about careers, including progression horizontally into other roles, but also including projects and placements.  There’s nothing that new about this (see for example Deloitte’s book on Mass Career Customisation, and it was also a key feature of Josh Bersin’s presentation I saw recently) but I did think Peter’s conclusion was very interesting – that the goal for many companies should be four transfers for every promotion (a career path ration of 0.25).

I don’t have the data Peter has but I have to say that this feels about right. 


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I graduated from Imperial College, London in 1987 and joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a systems development consultant. After ten years in IT, change and then HR consulting, I joined Ernst & Young as an HR Director, working firstly in the UK, and then, based in Moscow, covering the former USSR.More recently, I have worked as Head of HR Consulting for Penna and Director of Human Capital Consulting for Buck Consultants (the HR consultancy owned by ACS).


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