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You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone: Key Considerations In Succession Planning
Just like strategic planning, organizations should have a solid plan of succession as employees move in and out of various positions. While succession planning is often discussed for administrative-level employees, significant effort should be focused on planning for transitions at all levels of the organization.
This blog from HRZone recommends several tools the can be used to ensure your succession plans are adequate. To evaluate your organization’s current stance on succession planning, it may be prudent to consider the following questions:
- Is succession planning part of the current strategic plan?
- Do succession plans align with the long-term business strategy of the company?
- How transparent is the succession planning process?
- When orienting new employees, is progression/succession planning discussed?
- How often is succession planning discussed? Who is involved in such discussions?
- Are there opportunities to provide employees with high visibility/high profile projects that may lead to promotion? How many employees are cross-training to fulfill various roles in the department/organization?
- How often are the HR department and management team collaborating on succession planning efforts?
- What are the contingency plans in place? One consideration could be to include a short-term “emergency” plan (<3 months) and a long-term plan should an employee move into another position or pursue a position outside of your organization.
Additionally, this Forbes article recommends the following three step process:
- Map It Out: List the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA’s) that an employee would need to be successful in this position.
- “Mind map” the gap. In respect to the organization, what changes do you anticipate in your profession/market/environment that may need to be addressed by changes in the position’s description in the future? In regards to discussions with employees (during a performance evaluation or otherwise), what does this individual need to get to the next step in their career trajectory?
- Ask people what they want. As you gain an understanding of what progression your employees are looking for, lining up opportunities/trainings for that individual can help them progress while also identifying what future employees in this role may want in regards to professional development.
Offering professional development opportunities can be a key recruiting strategy as candidates seek out employers who will help them further their skills in their career, and pursue innovative training opportunities. During recruitment discussions, have your organization’s tuition reimbursement policy on hand to be able to highlight this benefit.
Successful succession planning can contribute to ongoing organization productivity, engagement, and effectiveness. Having frequent and open discussions about these topics is imperative.