Our experience is that the resources needed to set up and run a succession or talent scheme are likely to be substantial, but need not be prohibitive. Depending on your purposes in running the scheme and what you already have in place, you may need to consider:
Against the costs you may be able to set savings on external advertisements or headhunters, and some of your costs may also be offset by reshaping existing provision of learning and development.
It is worth remembering that succession and talent schemes are long-term investments. This means long-term funding, but also long-term benefits. You may not be in a position initially to fund anything more than a pilot, but your conduct of the pilot and your case for continuation should try to take into account the fact that results will not be seen immediately.
We set up our scheme using a £40k Leadership Foundation fellowship, which gave us the funded time of a pro-vice-chancellor and an experienced staff developer part-time for a year, plus some funding for a pilot development centre. Now that it’s running in a steady state, we budget around £2k per participant for the development centres – not including staff time.
Our budgetary figure per head is around £2k. That includes the time of the scheme staff, and the time of the participants and their line managers, and paying for the assessment materials. Learning and development is counted separately.