• Hazel Parker

Effective Succession Planning

Succession planning is more important now than ever. With many seasoned employees retiring, skills gaps, and fierce competition for top talent, many organizations are struggling to retain employees their mission-critical positions. Succession planning goes beyond just recruiting to fill vacancies. It is more of an intentional process whereby an organization prepares itself to meet its talent needs over the long haul. It is a strategic process that ensures effective organizational performance at all levels. It is a long-term commitment to strategic planning and monitoring the organization’s talent needs to fulfill its mission. Key factors in succession planning include recruitment strategies, retention strategies, and employee development.

There are several considerations that are important to developing an effective succession plan. Seek involvement from all departments and levels of the organization. Succession planning cannot simply be a function handled by the human resources department. Understand the knowledge, skills and competencies needed for key positions at all levels of the organization. Then assess where there are gaps in the needed skill sets. Another important consideration is examining performance management in the organization. To create an internal career ladder that will significantly improve succession planning, the organization must have employees who are performing well so that they are promotable to higher level positions. The organization must also have an effective employee development program to cultivate employee skills to close existing gaps and to prepare them fill vacancies that arise. Finally, the succession plan cannot be developed and put on a shelf. It must be developed, its success evaluated on a regular bases, and modifications made as warranted so that it continues to be effective in ensuring the organization continues to be productive and maintain its talent.

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