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Building 'Employee Banks'
Human Resources » Career Planning

Chrm Message From: tara Total Posts: 49 Join Date: 25/12/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 14/03/2007 11:42:33 Points: 245 Location: United States

Corporate world has undergone a major revamp in the recent times. There are ultra modern buildings with swanky interiors and state of art facilities to lure the employees. While enhanced focus on employee policies and friendly work environment have opened new channels of communication between the employer and the employees, it has also boosted one of the most dreaded problems - soaring attrition levels.

The desire to become the best is pushing corporates to woo and retain the best talents in the job market. So the focus is shifting towards maintaining a reservoir of talent to tackle crises, in case the best manpower decides to hop jobs.

Succession Planning

Identifying key positions in the organisation and developing plans to ensure that suitable employees are available at all times to fill these key positions as and when they become vacant, forms the core of 'succession planning'.

It is essentially a proactive process based on pre-evaluation of possible future crisis and needs. The process has become more sophisticated and adaptable, in recent times. Among the most obvious occasions when companies face manpower crisis are - organisational restructures, mergers, acquisitions, etc. Voluntary retirement schemes (VRS), downsizing and other cost-cutting initiatives.

An Effective Succession Plan Involves:
- Identifying the key positions in the organisation where loss of an incumbent could cause problems if a contingency plan does not exist.
- Allocating both short and long-term potential successors to those positions.
- Assessing the potential replacements' to fill the positions and determining their training, development and work experience needs.
- Identifying movements in the actual jobs available in the organisation, i.e. what new jobs can be created and which types of jobs are likely to become redundant.

High levels of uncertainty and rapid changes are forcing the companies to maintain a 'bank' of employees whom they regard as having the potential to fill key management positions. The advantage of maintaining this kind of back up is that the organisations are well equipped to cope with unexpected events as it has people who are able to move into a range of different positions. The focus has to be on developing 'strategic managers'.

Thus, succession planning clearly needs to be integrated with a wide range of other activities, which include organisational strategic planning, plus the HR-related functions of job analysis, career planning, recruitment and selection, performance management, assessing potential, training and development, remuneration and benefits, and equal opportunity/diversity.

Role Of The HR Department:
No succession plan can be a success without the involvement and co-operation of HR department of an organisation. In fact, it is a concept seeded and nurtured by the human resource management team. A set of well-evaluated and focused strategies can be the base work for drawing an effective succession plan.

One of the most effective strategy is to induce the managers to draw a succession plan for their own sections and positions. The process can be identified as the efforts made towards developing and coaching the employees who work for them. It will also generate a feeling of self-analysis and thus help them work out their own positive and negative points to improve their functioning.

Some of the innovative steps that the HR department can adopt to implement the process are:

- Arranging coaching for managers in how to develop employees and manage their performance.
- Demonstrating the benefits like cost savings, incentives and productivity profits to managers that can be achieved by retaining valuable employees.
- Ensuring that all employees are considered in the process.
- Ensuring that senior management is dedicated to succession planning, understands the purpose of the planning procedure and periodically exhibits its benefits to the employees.
- Ensuring that plans are rapidly updated as per the occasion and change in technology or company policies.

Formulating An Effective Succession Plan:

Succession planning requires the commitment of the employees and the employer to ensure smooth functioning of the organisation.

Let us look at some basic constituents of an effective succession plan

Plan In Advance -

The process of succession planning begins with explaining the underlying goals of the process to business leaders, conveying accountability to business leaders, and training participants on the company's succession-management process. Developing hypothetical situations where one or many positions are lying vacant and who can be possible replacements either on an ad-hoc basis or full time appointment, is an effective way to foresee possible crisis situation. Observing people and how they mange responsibilities assigned to them, is also a part of pre planning process.

Evaluation -

Keeping in mind the traits exhibited in the pre planning stage, managers can evaluate subordinates who have the potential to be the future leaders of the organisation. Such team members could then be classified on the basis of their career history, accomplishments, strengths, and developmental needs and rated on both performance and potential. Using the individual profiles and ratings, managers can create a performance and potential performa. It is from here that these target employees are taken into confidence, briefed about the action plan and thus trained on the area that need improvement.

Clear Communication -

After the groundwork for selection and training is laid, an effective communication channel needs to be developed. Clear communication and direct discussions between the HR department, managers and general employees is must. Together, the participants can review the high-potential profile, as well as performance and potential grids on each future leader. These discussions are vital in creating replacement charts reflecting each key position, potential successors, and their current state of preparedness.

Feedback -

Choosing the future replacements is not the end of the succession planning process. It is like an ongoing process that requires constant re-evaluation and the drill keeps on going as the future leaders move into the new positions and new talent joins the ranks. Evaluation of the pre-planning chart and a check on whether the transaction has been smooth and as per the predictions is must. The rapidly changing marketplace means organisations need to keep their talent lists fresh and recognise their depth of talent, who are available to fill key roles.

The Hurdles

There are many obstacles that an organisation may face in developing the succession plan. These include -

Lack Of 'Future Orientation' -

It is a common observation that companies lay far too emphasis on current or past problems. However, they need to view the situation that would be 5-10 years ahead.

Improper Selection Of Successors -
Successors must not be evaluated by their appearances or influence in public and private life. To do this, managers need to avoid personal bias and not take decisions in haste.

Ineffective Development Plans -

A succession plan must be exhaustive and effective. Most importantly, it should be flexible and open to new changes at any point of time.

Inadequate Timing -

It is critical that a succession plan is brought in at the right time. Also an adequate amount of time must be allotted to each employee, training department and other concerned personnel.

Another common problem in organisations is that at times the managers hold back employees with potential, either because they perceive them as a threat to their own positions or because they value them highly and do not want to lose them to another section of the organisation. It is necessary here to ensure that these managers understand the main objective of the planning and participate beyond personal motives.

Succession planning has become a key process to deliver business performance in the corporate world. Thus, career planning must be oriented towards future jobs, not just the current ones.

Suggested Reading..... The case of Succession Planning of COLGATE Vs P&G "Human Capital" - September 2003 issue.

Wasn't that an excellent  reading ??


Chrm Message From: rohanaher Total Posts: 1 Join Date: 25/12/2006  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 26/11/2010 01:22:36 Points: 5 Location: United States

hi tara,

that really good suggestion ur post .



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