BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2007) - In the new benchmark report, "The Looming Leadership Void: Identifying, Retaining, and Developing Your Top Talent," Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), found that while only 48% of all organizations surveyed are currently pursuing succession planning, 84% of Best-in-Class organizations leveraged succession planning to increase the percentage of key vacancies filled by internal candidates, as compared to only 19% of Industry Average and 0% of Laggards. This benchmark report is a compilation of surveys and interviews from 245 organizations globally and highlights how Best-in-Class performers are using a combination of strategies, processes, and technology solutions to identify, develop, and retain their top performers and ensure continuance in key positions throughout the company.

"There exists a strong correlation between an organization's ability to achieve Best-in-Class status and the longevity of its succession planning efforts," said Kevin Martin, Research Director, Human Capital Management at Aberdeen. "The extent to which an organization has pursued succession planning has a direct impact on overall organizational awareness and the adoption of a succession planning strategy. This, in turn, helps establish and reinforce the 'development' culture or mindset that organizations strive to achieve."

To achieve Best-in-Class status in succession planning, organizations during the previous 12 months were required to have improved the percentage of key positions filled by internal candidates, improve the performance of successors, and improve the company's bench strength -- calculated as a percent of key positions for which at least one qualified succession candidate is identified. However, Best-in-Class companies were also found to decrease the time for successors to achieve desired productivity as well as the percentage of managers who resign or are terminated for performance reasons, while enhancing overall employee retention and satisfaction. The report found that a key differentiator between Best-in-Class, Industry Average, and Laggard organizations was having a company-wide succession planning strategy that is integrated with the company's strategic plan (as was the case for 60% of Best-in-Class versus 25% of Industry Average and 23% of Laggards). "It is imperative to approach succession planning holistically when searching for high potentials," said Jayson Saba, Research Associate, Human Capital Management at Aberdeen. "Almost half of our Best-in-Class companies allow access to employees across divisions rather than limiting the internal search to each business unit."

This report examines how global enterprises are utilizing succession planning strategies, processes, and solutions to prepare for the loss of key leaders to retirement, prevent the loss of high potential talent to competitors, and strengthen bench strength in terms of quantity and quality of successors. The report also offers recommended actions that all companies can take to become more proactive and empowered in planning for future talent needs and engaging the talent they need to keep.

A complimentary copy of this research report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Taleo, SHL, and Fidello. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit:

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

© 2007 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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Contact Information: Media Contact: Kevin Martin Aberdeen Harte-Hanks (617) 854-5314