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Succession Planning—taught properly—may be the most important course ever taught. Having a concrete hiring and succession planning program in place is the only way to ever know that your people are focused on the activities, goals and business drivers that bring in revenue and increase profits.
Check boxes and grids on a 3 x 3 matrix don’t work if you don’t have the right info. The fundamental flaws in most succession planning programs at most companies (and with most succession planning training programs, too) are created by the following oversights:
1.) Failure to establish job descriptions and hiring tools that have benchmarked the skills and traits (character traits and attitudes) that define high performers in all jobs, not just “critical roles.” Without these competency-based hiring maps and descriptions for all jobs, it is impossible to know whether the right people have been placed in the right job. Job succession doesn’t just come from the pools of people in so-called “critical roles.” All roles are critical—because every job in the company provides the larger pool from which high performers can be identified and promoted.
2.) Failure to hire performers in the first place. Without benchmarking jobs with the input of high performers and managers alike, it is impossible to know what to hire for. Technically speaking, there should no “Low Pos” on a succession planning matrix. If there are, someone didn’t do their job at the hiring phase or the training department is non-existent.
3.) Failure to ask people how they feel they could make a better contributor to the bottom line, and what training and mentoring they need to become better at their jobs. If you never ask these questions and never supply the need training and mentoring, any succession planning programs are hopeless. You won’t have any “High Pos” to put into the box.
Succession Planning is an Agile Sprint
At ASPE, we know that life itself is an Agile Sprint and so is every phase of business, including a Successful Succession Planning program. It is a process that starts with hiring and continues through the life of the employee’s career, with a lot of emphasis on feedback, coaching, development and training.
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- Course Outline
1. What is Succession Planning?
Succession planning is a process of identifying key positions within an organization to ensure employees are recruited, discovered, and developed to fill positions within your organization. Following this process you can develop a succession planning program to begin recruiting outstanding employees, develop their competencies, and prepare them for the future. The development process can help them be ready for promotions and career advancement within your organization.
• Business reasons for succession planning
• The traditional approach to succession planning
• Alternative approaches to succession planning
• Outside influences on succession planning
Practice Sessions - We will begin with an activity that will have you perform an assessment of your workplace's succession planning program. Then, as a small team you will discuss the inside influences that will benefit and constrain a succession planning program in your workplace. With the help of your team, you will also identify which outside influences need to be considered at each workplace and present these ideas to the rest of your class participants.
2. Best Practices for Succession Planning
All levels of the organization need to understand the benefits of an effective succession planning program. It is also helpful to review succession planning best practices from other industries and other organizations. Every program proposed to an organization will face its share of resistance and/or naysayers, and succession planning programs are not unique to these constraints. If you understand the possible constraints, you will be better prepared to overcome them as they arise when trying to initiate or implement your succession planning program.
- Review of Current Succession Planning Model and Tools (Strengths and Weaknesses)
- Common succession planning practices
- Overcoming resistance
Practice Sessions - You will begin this section by discussing succession planning best practices and then determining which ones would be viable to implement in your workplace. Potential barriers and risks to the success of the succession planning program will be discussed in small team efforts and discussed with all of your classmates. With the help of other participants, you will also discover strategies and tactics for how to overcome risks and resistance from stakeholders of the program.
3. Phase 1 of Succession Planning - Begin / Initiate the Program
During this phase the organization makes the decision to begin the succession planning program or the next phase of the program. If your organization is new to succession planning this is the phase where you will be promoting the program on its benefits and showing the potential return on investment. If your organization already has a succession planning program, this is where checks and balances exist to see if the program should be changed or enhanced.
• Risk management planning
• Mission statement and objectives
• Promotional opportunities
• Appropriate stages for beginning the program
• Timing of the program
• Communicating the program
Practice Sessions - Using the knowledge and approaches gained in this section, you and your team will work on a case study exercise to create important internal communications to your team about new succession planning practices and plans. All employees will be encouraged to act in this process.
4. Phase 2 of Succession Planning - Needs Assessment on Current Roles & Responsibilities
This phase involves reviewing the roles and responsibilities of key positions within the organization, based on which stage or level the organization chooses to begin the process. These key positions should be the types of positions that help the organization achieve its goals and objectives for the strategic direction of the organization.
• Reviewing the roles and responsibilities of key positions
• Performing job and task analysis
Practice Sessions - You are now ready to continue working on the case study exercise by performing a needs assessment at the organization based on roles, responsibilities, job analysis, and task analysis. Your work on this will be shared with all of the class participants to gain additional insights.
5. Phase 3 of Succession Planning - Performance Appraisals or Reviews
Using a current performance appraisal or review process is critical to identify which employees are eligible for the succession planning program. Performance appraisals are an excellent opportunity to identify Hi-Pos.
• The significance of performance assessments for succession planning
• Identifying high potentials (Hi-Pos)
Practice Sessions - With the help of your team, you will review a sample performance appraisal and determine the criteria identifying the employee as a high potential (Hi-Po). Each team will present their rationale to the other teams.
7. Phase 5 of Succession Planning - Measure Future Employee Capabilities
This phase involves looking at the past performance of employees and determining if they have the potential to fulfill the requirements of future roles and responsibilities. Measuring future employee capabilities includes analyzing jobs, tasks, job descriptions, and competencies.
• Forecasting human potential
• Measuring employee potential for career advancement
• Defining Hi-Pos
Practice Sessions - You and your team will forecast work and competencies needed in the future determine the additional steps that need to be implemented to improve employees’ potential for career advancement.
8. Phase 6 of Succession Planning - Gap Analysis
This phase involves putting the information from Phases 2–5 into a work diagram and action plan and evaluating where gaps exist. The gap analysis can help an organization create progression or career paths for Hi-Pos. •
Practice Sessions - By putting all the puzzle pieces together from previous succession planning phases, you and your team will create a gaps grid. You will use this grid to help analyze where both gaps and development opportunities for creating a streamlined and metrics-driven succession planning program at your organization.
9. Phase 7 of Succession Planning - Bridge the Gap
Bridging the gap requires creating strategies to develop employees where their gaps exist. Care must be used to not focus only on weaknesses of employees, but to continue concentrating on strength development. Attention must also be focused on the needs of the different generations in the workplace.
• Creating talent and acceleration pools
• Filling up the leadership pipeline
• Conducting development meetings
• Following up with Hi-Pos
• Creating individual development plans
• Developing employees and learning interventions
• Interpreting the Nine-Box matrix—where it works
Practice Sessions - Now that you and your team understand where the gaps exist, you are ready to analyze which development approaches will work for the Hi-Pos based on their generational needs. You will analyze the best implementation strategies to successfully complete development for Hi-Pos.
10. Phase 8 of Succession Planning - Evaluate and Monitor the Program
It is essential to continuously evaluate the succession planning program to ensure the process is working and provide your organization with the results necessary to remain effective. There are numerous strategies available to evaluate the effectiveness of the succession planning program.
• Conducting review meetings
• Measuring the effectiveness of the program
Practice Sessions - The case study organization has completed one lifecycle of the succession planning phases. You and your team will now measure the effectiveness of the succession planning program during this lifecycle. Lessons learned will be identified and shared with other teams attending the workshop.
- Who should attend
The Two Day Intensive Boot camp titled The Scientific Approach to Succession Planning has been designed to help all managers learn reliable processes, skills and methods to optimize hiring, talent development, succession planning and promotion. A wide range of best practices and extremely practical tools will be presented by David Snyder, whose book How to Hire a Champion was named by the Bloomberg organization as one of the best books available on building high performing teams. It is recommended that managers bring at least one to three “high performing” team members to the training who can help explain the traits of high performers from the high performer’s point of view.