Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die. Here the planning is usually a close process, so that those who have been selected are not likely to know that they are on a succession list or chat. Succession planning can be defined as the process of identifying critical roles in a company and the core skills associated with those roles, and then identifying possible internal candidates to assume those jobs when the incumbents leave.
Effective succession or talent-pool management concerns itself with building a series of feeder groups up and down the entire leadership pipeline or progression. In contrast, replacement planning is focused narrowly on identifying specific back-up candidates for given senior management positions. Thought should be given to the retention of key employees, and the consequences that the departure of key employees may have on the business
Organisations will typically undertake Succession Planning for the following reasons:
Ensure business continuity of people resources
Mitigate against potential critical business operational gaps
Provide career pathways for existing talent within the organisation
A Succession Planning program may assist in providing organisations with improved strategic viability and ongoing business sustainability by proactively addressing:
Future leadership capability
Business direction and continuity
Retention of high-value talent
Retention of institutional knowledge
A good Succession Plan enables smooth transition with less likelihood of disruption to operations. By planning well in advance you can maximise the value of your business and enable it to meet future needs.
To assure consistent succession, agencies/divisions must:
Assess the potential for vacancies in leadership and other key positions;
Assess the readiness of current staff to assume these positions;
Develop strategies to address these needs based on the gaps including mentoring, formal training in leadership and supervisory skills, working with staff to navigate the Civil Service System to assure appropriate promotional pools, developing strategies to retain current and potential staff, etc.
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