Understanding and promoting the behaviors and values associated with your organization’s future plan, as well as ensuring you have the staff with the capability, capacity, and potential to be its future managers and leaders, is vital to the going concern at the core of any organization. The succession plan of an organization is like the reserve bench of a football team. As is always said in the game of football, the strength of any football team is mainly dependent on its reserve bench. In the same way, the strength of any organization largely depends on its succession plan and talent and performance management. This write-up seeks to establish the nexus that exists between an organization’s succession planning vi-a-via its talent and performance management.
A succession plan in human resource management is a plan that focuses on identifying and developing employees in order to help them advance within an organization. Succession planning is important because as an organization grows, it becomes more cost-effective to develop current employees for future key positions rather than hire new people. Human resource practitioners need to project the vision and outlook of every organization to know the caliber of the labor force that might be needed to attain that vision. It should also fit into the business continuity plan of every organization in the sense that in the event of any disaster hitting an organization, some staff members may be affected that require temporary replacements to ensure a seamless continuation of the business.
Closely tied to succession planning is talent and performance management. There cannot be proper succession planning without a well-thought-out and thorough talent and performance management regime. Talent management is the full scope of HR’s process to attract, onboard, develop, motivate, and retain high-performing employees. Talent management is aimed at improving business performance through practice that makes employees more productive. Talent and performance management may be geared towards the tactical approaches adopted to attract the best possible hands to man an organization, while the succession plan is more strategic, taking into account more than only the future human resource plans of the organization. But it is important to note that it is the talent and performance management regime that eventually feeds into a perfect succession plan. In some organizations, there is a whole unit within the HR establishment dedicated to talent and performance management.
Talent and performance management starts right from the recruitment stage of an organization, where thorough screening is done to bring aboard quality employees to best equip the organization. Once these employees get on board, during orientation and the induction ceremony, these dedicated units in the HR unit should keep an eagle eye on the new recruits with the aim of spotting the top flyers amongst them for talent management and subsequently drawing up a succession plan. In the job field, it is also important to assign coaches or mentors to these new recruits who would communicate to the talent and performance division regarding any exceptional qualities that need to be monitored and nurtured properly for future roles.
Succession planning should be an integral part of the strategic human resource planning of an organization, which invariably feeds into the larger organizational objective. In this strategic plan, HR should be able to project the number of staff who may be retiring within the next five years and immediately start working out their replacements. Much consideration should go into working out the replacement; for existing staff, it is not enough to merely replace the existing team members with new ones without accessing their commensurate capacity and ability to perfectly fill the vacuum. Human resource outfits should not just employ for the sake of it; vacant slots are supposed to be filled by deserving people who have the demonstrable skills and expertise to move the organization to the next level. Having already identified potential talents who could fill future vacancies, HR needs to brainstorm on the best possible ways to retain them in the organization without losing them to other competitive industries. In many organizations, advance interviews are organized for such identified talents, and the successful ones are placed in a pool of waiting lists to be considered any time there is a promotional vacancy. This proactive measure is adopted as a way of incentivizing these hardworking staff to stay and bide their time for promotion without getting impatient and running away in search of other tantalizing opportunities.
Succession planning and talent management both help reduce the conflict that normally arises when there is a promotional vacancy in an organization. It also motivates other workers who may not be in the pool currently to work hard in order to be recognized and rewarded in a similar fashion. Getting the larger team at a company involved in succession planning also conveys a transparent, dispassionate mission and reduces the emotional temperature on any assumption over an individual’s aspirations and readiness. In turn, this sends a signal to all staff about the commitment of management in rewarding an employee’s subsequent development and hard work.
Phidelia Johnson is a global Human Resources Practitioner with eighteen years of leadership success. With a focus on streamlining Human Resources administration, she’s well-equipped to find the right solution to a myriad of concerns. Her experience as a commercial business leader gives her a unique ability to advocate for both the employer and the employee.
In her down time, Phidelia is a master of her kitchen, creating wonderful dishes filled with passion and flavor. If she’s not cooking delicious food, she’s stretched out with a good book. She hopes to use her experience to help others, guide company leaders to best practices, and help build better professionals and stronger organizations.