There’s no substitute for succession planning

Succession planning in your organisation is no longer a ‘nice to have’. In light of recent developments that have left major companies without a successor at the top, keeping that talent pipeline flowing has become a business imperative.

It is also an area where HR departments can add the most strategic value. In our HR Strategy Survey earlier this year (Personnel Today, 16 May), succession planning was voted second in the list of functions that HR deems most strategic.

It’s clear that these skills are more in demand than ever, as not having an heir apparent for vital roles in a business is the equivalent of a football manager having an empty subs bench. You end up giving the competition an easy advantage.

This can be particularly debilitating for listed companies, which risk losing the confidence of shareholders if they cannot show they have measures in place to ‘future proof’ the organisation, or cannot prove the transparency of board appointments.

If you’d like some ideas, inspiration and practical tips about how to devise an effective talent management strategy – whether you work in the private or public sector – take a look at the organisations shortlisted in the BlessingWhite Award for Talent Man­agement in the Personnel Today Awards 2006.

The financial benefits to an organisation of succession planning can be great, as is evidenced in the five talent management initiatives that we have showcased in this shortlist. Not only have the HR departments helped boost company share price and reduce recruitment costs their talent development schemes have improved staff commitment and engagement levels, and they have motivated employees by giving them real, achievable career progression.

As one shortlisted organisation puts it, if you have good succession plans – aligned, of course, with the strategic needs of the organisation – you can spend less time managing attrition and more time managing careers.




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