Category: Human Resources
How well do you prepare? Preparation is a necessary component in all aspects of life, and it is critical in the workplace. Whether you're planning a picnic with family and friends, thinking about college, or preparing to fill a vacated position within your department, preparation is necessary. Webster's dictionary defines preparation as "the activity of setting in order in advance of some act or purpose." The key word in this definition is "activity." You must act in order to prepare.
According to the Critical Human Capital Issues of 2011 report from the Institute for Corporate Productivity, succession planning is number two on the list of critical workplace problems. As we continue to rebound from a severe economic crisis, corporations are scrambling to ensure adequate talent and resources are in place in preparation for employees ¡§jumping ship¡¨ due to unhappiness and distress in their current jobs. Top notch talent is difficult to recruit and retain, and this challenge will only get worse as the economy improves. Smart companies are always prepared with a solid succession plan. If your company is lacking in this area, this article will help to get you on track.
Talent is the most valuable asset a company has. Planning for the exit of key players in your organization is no easy task. Employees possess skills, knowledge, attributes, and traits that, oftentimes, are unique and difficult to replace. However, you can reduce your risk of profit loss with great preparation and planning for talent replacement.
Following are key element to consider for your succession plan:
- Create development plans: This is one of the oldest known documents in existence. Most employees will have a development plan on file. However, this critical document typically is useless because it lacks valuable information an organization needs for successful succession planning. Don¡¦t allow your employees to design this document alone. Management and employees should work together to create this document. It is a working document, and there should be tasks and items that require on-going ¡§action¡¨ and intermittent progress checks.
- Cross-train: One never knows when an individual will make a swift exit from the company via job change, geographical relocation, or other reasons. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure employees in your department understand the job functions of other team members. This critical element allows you to document critical information that valuable employees possess. Oftentimes, certain key players may be the only ones who understand a specific process or how to operate a particular machine. Great cross-training procedures and adequate documentation will eliminate this potential problem.
- Educate: As the economy continues to struggle and organizations search for expense dollars to cut, unfortunately, employee development and training is usually high on the list. This is organizational suicide. Proper developmental training is critical to ensure employees learn and possess the skills and attributes needed to be effectively lead, manage, and develop others. There are many ways to be creative in educating employees. Allow employees to be part of the process by asking for their input and feedback. Use a suggestion box to solicit input. Hold departmental meetings to discuss the topic and come up with affordable ways in which to ensure education and training is available. Following are important developmental areas to address in today¡¦s workplace environment:
o Conflict Resolution
o Project Management
o Change Management
o Effective Communication Training
o Interpersonal Relationship Building
- Shadow or Mentor: Identify a few key individuals to work alongside a counterpart as a mentor. This process is low-cost and can provide great developmental opportunities for succession planning. The two individuals involved can decide how often they would like to meet and can design the mentoring plan around their schedules. A mentoring relationship is also a great way to expose the developing employee by offering opportunities to sit-in for the individual during vacations or leaves. As the development evolves, the knowledge and skills learned should be part of the development plan mentioned above.
By following the above steps, your succession plan will begin to take shape and become a valuable document right alongside your disaster recovery plan. Training and retaining great talent is the number one objective of successful HR departmental executives, and by using the above tips, employees and leaders will be adequately prepared to enjoy solid performance in the market and outstanding profits.
To search the archive of Perspectives articles, go to the Search page