It's Time for a Plan

 -  4/3/10

There is really no better cause for succession planning than the expected exodus of retiring baby boomers. It's time for talent leaders to get their plans together.

The first batch of baby boomers reached age 60 in 2006, and it is predicted that in 2010 a large percentage of the working boomers will start retiring, or at the very least move to working part time to find a better work-life balance. This mass exodus from the workforce could leave big holes to fill in many organizations.

Because there is really no better cause for succession planning than the baby boomers retiring, it’s time for many talent leaders to get their plans together.

Internal recruitment is vital for organizations to succeed, and finding talent from within is much less costly than recruiting and on-boarding external candidates. The succession process takes time to get in place, and it needs to be gradual to keep information and responsibilities from getting lost in the change.

The future of any company depends on the thoroughness of its succession plan. Here are some things to consider when preparing for effective succession.

Have a plan in place before it’s necessary. Succession planning removes some of the stress of finding the right person for a job in an emergency. There is no way to predict if someone is going to suddenly quit, get sick or decide to move to another city. So the only way to handle this situation is to prepare for it.

Careful planning will keep a workforce from being disrupted, or at least minimize potential disruptions. Planning also gets workers more involved and helps build organizational loyalty by providing a career path up the corporate ladder.

Assess current employees’ skills. To start the planning process, review current employees’ skills to identify the right candidates to move up. Think about not only the technical skills for a job but also the interpersonal skills a person would require to be successful, such as the ability to motivate others and manage subordinates.

If after reviewing current employees, there is no one available with the necessary skills, start a targeted training and development program to get them there, or alter the recruiting process to find someone externally with the exact skills desired.

If the right internal candidates for open positions are available, keep them updated on hiring decisions. It’s important to gauge their interest and involve them in the process to increase their loyalty and investment in the company. Letting employees know there is a bigger plan in store for them can promote stronger relationships and a more trusting work environment.

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