Development and Succession: A Necessary Marriage

Ask Rich Floersch, McDonald’s Corp.’s chief human resources officer, how woven together succession planning and talent development ought to be, and his answer is quick and to the point: “Extremely.”
Indeed, as made clear by other HR experts and practitioners, succession planning is only as good as a company’s ability to develop its talent.

Floersch explained the reasoning: Aside from getting people more skilled in their current role and prepared to move on to the next one, talent development is a lens that allows talent leaders to observe who is in the organization, what their skills are and how they might fit into the larger succession process down the road.

But this sort of approach is only valuable, Floersch said, if companies keep their talent development processes in-house. “We do a lot of internal” development, he said. “We don’t farm this stuff out.” Many leadership development activities at McDonald’s are led by executives within the company, which lets senior leaders get to know talent firsthand.

Floersch also said development programs in McDonald’s are done cross-functionally. In other words, a finance executive might teach people from operations or human resources. “These individuals get to know talent outside their functional area,” Floersch said.