Is succession planning a core part of your workforce management strategy?
Talent is one of the primary problems organizations across the world are faced with today. All organizations today have some sort of a program to nurture its rising stars. Usually these programs are annually spaced out and revolve around nominations or leadership development opportunities.
But despite the prevalence of these programs, most haven’t delivered much in the way of results. As per a study made by Harvard Business Review on leadership transitions, nearly 40% of “high potentials” end in failure. Also, almost three-quarters of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills and 36% of companies are experiencing talent shortages.
Why does succession planning fail?
The truth is, succession planning isn’t easy — it takes a determined, concerted effort to be proactive about the process, instead of simply reacting when your business is faced with a key skills gap or a vacant role when an employee leaves or is promoted.
Reasons Anil Raikundlia, MD, Maple Consulting & Services, “Most organizations do a good job of planning for the future when it comes to the business strategy and with plans to achieve set milestones like profit, growth and market share. But the area where most lack is the inability to plan, in equal detail, how roles will be filled with appropriate talent in support of that strategy.”
Key questions to contend with in succession planning include:
How to recruit effectively
How to identify talent from within
How to cultivate and nurture talent
How to motivate and retain talent
How talent can be best leveraged
“Building strong talent starts with identifying, engaging and nurturing high-potential employees at all levels, and then working to develop their strengths and retain them long-term.”
The way we do a SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] analysis for business strategy, we should be doing the same for talent says Anil.
It’s all starts from hiring and building Trust
Establishing the right screening process is very important. Training cannot fix an ineffective recruiting and selection process or a wrong hire.
Engage with your talent at all levels
A good succession planning strategy starts with great communication and lots of feedback. Managers need to be really engaged with every step along an employee’s desired career path, so they can describe and help to develop the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience employees will need.
As part of these conversations, managers should identify potential next steps, learning activities and developmental assignments that will prepare candidates for future roles.
Managers and employees can also use this time to plan specific learning goals and then monitor skill acquisition regularly.
Build & train a team of talent scouts: provide them the freedom to make mistakes and then help them
Choose individuals within your organization who have a unique blend of skills, knowledge, and experience. They can increase the productivity of others, generate ideas and help identify latent talent.
Today’s top talent has a unique set of needs. They demand the freedom to explore and fail and they expect their peers and leaders to be on the same wave length. You can recognise them with the following traits:
Pride in Where They Work and What They Do
Meaningful Work—The opportunity to Make a Significant Difference
Freedom and Control
Recognition and Fast-Track Career Growth
Top-of-Range Compensation Packages
Flexibility That Allows for Work/Life Balance
Focus on engagement and retention
If your employees don’t see a path up, they will start looking for a path out. According to a survey from Future Workplace only 50 percent of the 4,347 job seekers polled by the survey say that their most recent employer has helped them advance in their career.
Succession planning and employee development and training demonstrates a commitment to employees and shows them they have a future in your organization.
In smaller and mid-size organizations, an emotional connect between employee and employer is of importance as well. These organizations might not have a lot of openings, incredible pay or traditional advancement opportunities, but if interest is taken in development and growth, retention and engagement has been proved to be very high.
When nurturing staff, it is important to let them know their daily activities are contributing towards a greater purpose, and this why an organisation’s mission, values, and vision are so important.
The following tips can help you motivate your team better:
Provide regular and objective feedback to keep them on track and show that the organization cares for their success.
Remove role ambiguity and provide the latitude and freedom for top talent to succeed
Resolve any conflict quickly and seamlessly
Encourage healthy competition to bring the best out of your people but never let that degenerate into politics. Ensure that all managers are trained to nip such activities in the bud.
Leverage Talent: expose them to new work areas and issues beyond their comfort areas.
Institutionalize a structured top talent program that has specific milestones, programs, and initiatives.
Rotate key people across various departments and functions to ensure that they understand different aspects of the business.
Ensure that your top executives take time and effort in mentoring key individuals. This must be a core part of their objectives.
Keep the list fresh and updated on a bi-yearly basis based on actual performance and provide opportunities for the entire cross-section of the company to participate in such a program.
Nurturing talent is a vital part of creating the right environment for talent to flourish and to lay the seeds for success in the future.
If talent management is a critical business objective at all levels in the organization, it can create a significant competitive advantage. If done well, it also creates depth of management talent, eliminates choke points in the organizational structure, and provides a clear path to sustainable and profitable growth that is very hard for the competition to replicate.