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Succession planning
Published on Friday, 12 Mar 2010
Vincent Tam
Senior director, people resources and general counsel, McDonald’s
Carrie Tse
Human resources director, IKEA Hong Kong

Vincent Tam
Senior director, people resources and general counsel, McDonald’s

The plan Each year, we conduct a rigorous talent-management review to ensure we have a strong pipeline of potential leaders. We assess the succession plan of our senior and critical positions, and identify near-term and long-term succession candidates for these positions.

McDonald's leaders around the world have steadily increased their competency, commitment level and investment of time into this process. The result has been continuous improvement in the quality of the talent plans and development strategies formulated under those plans.

Target We conduct talent-review roundtable discussions at different organisation levels, where managers openly discuss the performance and potential of their staff. Employees at different levels, identified as high potential candidates, undergo accelerated development programmes to strengthen the pool of tomorrow's leaders. 

Identify the right people The best talent decisions are made with performance as a guide, while an essential step on our talent management journey was the introduction of the Performance Development System in 2003. The system established a foundation for identifying future leaders. Since 2009, the company has also begun to roll out a new set of leadership competencies, which will help us identify and develop our future leaders.

Training McDonald's has long been admired  for its training and development at the restaurant and mid-management levels through the work  of our seven Hamburger Universities located worldwide. For the levels of director and senior director employees, we have added new depth  to this pool. The programmes integrate classroom training, special assignments and projects, and other learning experiences, which will  equip the participants with the essential managerial, personal and business skills for their career advancement.


Carrie Tse
Human resources director, IKEA Hong Kong

The plan We understand that even in a business which is managed well there will be some staff turnover. So, how we manage succession planning is crucial to the continuity of our long-term business goal. As such, we at IKEA see leadership succession planning as a continuing commitment to develop and strengthen our business model through a structured and well defined people-development programme. Our management-trainee programme is one of the examples.

Target The targets of this programme are skilled, ambitious and energetic fresh university graduates who have leadership potential and who are passionate about home furnishing.

Identify the right people In the case of new hires, we identify potential leaders through a series of assessment processes, including face-to-face meetings and an aptitude test. We also identify potential leaders from within the organisation. Those who constantly perform well at work will be on top of the list as our internal candidates. From there, we will work out a development profile subject to individual development needs and potential.

Training Take our 24-month management-trainee programme as an example. We allow our trainees to get their learning directly from trying out different roles by themselves. They will be rotated to different positions, and assigned projects and tasks that require them to have the full ownership of what they are responsible for. The programme consists of mentor, coach and buddy to whom the trainees constantly consult and work with. Upon the completion of each learning stage, the trainees are required to demonstrate what they have learned to senior management and an assessment of each assignment will be given. On top of the practical learning, a series of operation and management training will be also provided as another basic support.