Over the last several weeks I have been inundated with requests from top CEO’s on advice re succession planning. Personally, as a HR practitioner and researcher as well as an entrepreneur, I have also grappled with issues of succession. The highly regarded banker Sanjeev Nanavati, formerly CEO of Citibank had this to say to me “without the talent bandwidth, it is impossible to sustain and grow profitably”. Organisations are beginning to lament the dearth of internal talent and beginning to look externally. While more and more people are available for employment, talent remains a scare resource. To me, I think while no one gets it perfect, successful organisations have pursued a structured process. No organisation can afford not to consider Succession Planning as part of their business strategy. Succession Planning is becoming a serious issue forbusiness sustainability.
Outstanding researchers such as Professor Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School have written extensively about:
Dr. Robert M. Fulmer led a study that identified best practices among large firms. The fierce competitive world dominated by rapid change requires careful planning of having the right talent for business success. It’s not just succession to the top – It’s getting the right person in place for every job. Some of tomorrow’s key jobs may not even exist now. If a firm plans to double in size in five years, they will need more talented managers.
Succession planning is a process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. Through your succession planning process, you recruit superior employees, develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and prepare them for advancement or promotion into ever more challenging roles. Actively pursuing succession planning ensures that employees are constantly developed to fill each needed role. As your organization expands, loses key employees, provides promotional opportunities, and increases sales, your succession planning guarantees that you have employees on hand ready and waiting to fill new roles. Effective, proactive succession planning leaves your organization well prepared for expansion, the loss of a key employee, filling a new, needed job, employee promotions, and organizational redesign for opportunities. Successful succession planning builds bench strength. Even in the field of sports, for example, in football, the English Premier League teams consistently aim to build bench strength for success. Businesses are no different.
Firstly, there is a need to identify the CRITICAL positions for succession planning. You can’t have it for all positions. Critical positions are those that determine the success of a business. In my own experience, I have identified retention and risk profiles for these positions to ensure business continuity and success.
Secondly, a Competency framework is absolutely essential. The example of General Electric is a good one. A potential CEO goes through the various developmental cycles: from running start ups to matured businesses. A clear insight of competencies required for successful performance is needed to develop, coach and assess the performance of a person in the various developmental cycles. A competency framework identifies both behavioural and technical competencies essential for success.
Third, once these are done, the next thing to do is to choose from a list of HR strategies: recruitment, development, coaching, talent pools etc. to focus on Succession Planning. This includes working on the culture where the focus is on supporting the potential successors rather than getting rid of them. To develop the employees you need for your succession plan, you use such practices as lateral movements, special projects assigned to then, team leadership roles, and both internal and external learning opportunities. Employees are motivated and engaged when they can see a career path for their continued growth and development. To effectively do succession planning in your organization, you must identify the organization’s long term business goals. Jack Welch of General Electric was said to have supported the best talent development system at the organisation’s Crotonville management training center.
Fourth, we need to document the succession planning process. This is where a software tool is critical and absolutely essential. A mechanism for defining timelines, roles and responsibilities is needed.
Finally, there is a need to track and monitor the success of the Succession Planning efforts. Again, there is a need for a proactive and flexible software to report on progress.
– Dato Dr. Palan
TalentOz on-the-Cloud solutions covers the lifecycle of Human Capital Management from Recruitment to Separation, (also called Hire-to-Retire Processes).
This includes both strategic and transactional aspects of HCM. The hallmark of TalentOz is its tight integration across all the HCM Modules.
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