1 EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE 15 JUNE 2005 (ITEM 8) SUCCESSION PLANNING POLICY (Director of Corporate Services & Resources Human Resources) 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Succession planning is increasingly gaining acceptance as a key part of workforce development planning because it helps ensure that an organisation has the right people, in the right jobs at the right time. It also helps address other human resource issues such as the ageing of the workforce this is predicted to result in an increase in the number of senior post-holders retiring over the next decade. Organisations will need to identify successors for these roles, and with 31% of the local government workforce aged over 50 years in 2003, finding successors is an increasing problem. Augmenting this is the trend towards flatter organisational structures which has led to fewer employees gaining the strategic skills/experience needed for senior/key positions. The resulting lack of internal candidates with the necessary skills/experience has led to an increasing need to recruit externally, often at a premium cost. Despite this, few local authorities have explored the process, let alone adopted any kind of formalised strategy. Research has indicated that no other authorities in the area have a formal plan in place; therefore the Council is taking a leading role in formulating and adopting a Succession Planning Policy. This will then become part of the toolkit already available to Directors and senior managers in relation to management and employee development opportunities. 1.2 Succession planning is a process by which one or more successors are identified for key posts (or groups of similar key posts), and career moves and/or development activities are planned for these successors. Successors may be almost ready to do the job (short-term successors) or seen as having outstanding potential (long-term successors). Although there is a tendency to translate key posts to senior posts, they are not the only jobs which can benefit from this process. Any policy which the Council agrees on succession planning will need to encompass all levels of staff, thus ensuring a continuing high level of qualified and skilled staff who are able to progress into key roles as the need arises. 1.3 Succession planning typically involves identifying key roles and key members of staff, planning development opportunities, mentoring and nurturing, and ensuring that the plan is implemented on time and on budget. Succession planning is an important retention tool for any organisation wishing to plan for its future. The Council s workforce is a valuable asset and clear career progression paths need to be set up and communicated in order to identify a pool of internal candidates able to fill future key/senior roles. A well implemented succession plan will minimise the disruption to the Council s activities when the unexpected happens and will smooth the transition when the expected happens.
2 1.4 This report is brought forward to the Employment Committee to seek approval for a Succession Planning Policy. 2 RECOMMENDATIONS 2.1 That the adoption of a phased approach to succession planning (see 6.1), starting in September 2005 is approved. 2.2 That the sum of 30,000 from the Innovations Fund to prime pump this approach to succession planning (see 6.4) is agreed. 3. ADVICE RECEIVED FROM STATUTORY AND OTHER OFFICERS Borough Solicitor 3.1. Nothing to add to the report. Borough Treasurer 3.2 Apart from the sum of 30,000 from the Innovations Fund, there are no additional financial implications. 4 BACKGROUND INFORMATION 4.1 Succession planning ties in closely with all of the Council s higher level strategic HR plans; allied as it is to the Council s Pay and Workforce Strategy on Developing Leadership Capacity, which is a key part of the Council s Recruitment and Retention Strategy. The Pay and Workforce Strategy states that the availability of good leaders in sufficient numbers is essential in achieving sustained improvement in the Council s performance, efficiency and service delivery. A recent leaver survey conducted by Corporate HR found that one of the principal reasons for employees leaving the Council was due to an Opportunity for promotion elsewhere ; succession planning can help combat this by providing opportunities for development and progression. 4.2 A succession planning scheme would not stand exclusively; it would complement other retention initiatives and the Council s general training programme, not detract from them, but utilise them as a part of a more specific scheme. One of the key benefits of succession planning is that it can go hand in hand with other development activities whilst also aligning itself with the business needs of the Council through carefully tailored cross-boundary working etc. 4.3 Succession planning can also become a central component of the Council s risk management strategy which has recognised that losing key people is one of the biggest risks the Council faces. Succession planning can diminish this risk by providing incentives for key people to stay as well as through the development of talent pools to take over key vacancies when gaps occur. Loss of key staff being one of the nine strategic risks identified in the Risk Register.
3 4.4 Succession planning is not slotting in or guaranteeing future positions to specific individuals. The Council is required to conform to the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 by ensuring that appointments are made on merit. Succession planning does not bypass this requirement, but rather generates evidence of merit and grooms potential successors to put them in the position to make a strong application in the subsequent recruitment process. 5 BENEFITS 5.1 Succession planning involves identifying high potential employees whilst working within the properly defined guidelines of the Council s equalities requirements. Employment equalities provisions are enhanced by this process in that it can help to promote and develop the skills and promotion opportunities of minority groups and undermine the difficulties of the glass ceiling concept in promoting women into senior positions. The Employer s Organisation recognises that in certain circumstances, where, for example, individuals regularly cover for their manager, or have worked in the same area for a long time, then internal promotion (and therefore, succession planning) can be justified as an inevitable by-product of workforce development. To make the selection decisions as transparent, equitable and pragmatic as possible, a number of control mechanisms have been recommended in the draft policy (Business Case, DMT, Succession Planning Board etc). 5.2 The Council recognises that the risk of losing key people is a significant issue that requires serious consideration. Succession planning ensures that the risk of losing key people is not only thought about but also diminished whilst accepting the inevitability of some loss of staff through normal turnover. The potential for a nominated successor to not accept the role planned for them or leave before the planned succession is carried through is greatly diminished by ensuring they are onboard with the whole process, giving them ownership of their development and future career. 5.3 Whilst the individual s PDP will be used during the appraisal process to consider future development/training opportunities, an open and well communicated process will emphasise that everyone has a fair chance of being nominated. At the same time it is important to assure those who have not been selected for the succession planning scheme that their contribution is still very important to the Council. 5.4 Succession planning typically involves foreseeing what skills will be important, and what jobs there will be in a few years time. Although it is difficult to accurately predict future changes in job roles, technology, by keeping up to date with changes of this nature, the Council will be in the position to adapt with minimum effort as the need arises. In addition to this, succession planning facilitates the transfer of knowledge, skills and experience through cross-boundary moves etc, thus improving the knowledge of staff and ability of employees to adapt to future changes. 6 PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION 6.1 Succession planning is a relatively new concept in the public sector and many of the questions surrounding the process can only be answered once the Council has experienced and implemented it. Therefore, it is recommended that the Council s succession planning scheme is implemented in a measured and phased way. The recommended draft policy (Appendix A) is intended as a framework to be developed and improved through the first 12 months of its implementation. A review
4 will be carried out after that time when the policy will then be mainstreamed throughout the Council. However, no one plan will be the same, therefore a degree of flexibility and adaptability will need to be exercised in the implementation of any succession plan Within the draft policy, it is recommended that the Council takes an approach based on identifying potential candidates through the existing appraisal system. A formal plan for a few specific/exceptional circumstances when the organisational need to identify a successor for key posts is critical ( Targeted Development Programme ) would then be developed. Under this programme, a specific individual/s would be nominated as a potential successor for an already identified key role(s). 6.3 It is important that an officer is charged with managing this scheme; given its significant recruitment and retention implications, it is suggested that Corporate Recruitment Strategy Manager takes this responsibility. 6.4 Pump-priming resources are necessary to implement the first stages of this scheme. CMT has already approved the allocation of the sum of 30,000 from the Innovations Fund to cover the first 12 months of operation from 1 September This will fund a suggested initial pool of 6 places for the Targeted Development Programme. This will enable funding of on average 5.0k per candidate to fund a development plan for each individual and other costs. Thereafter, it will be necessary to fund the programme from existing training and staffing budgets across the Council. Development costs will be individual specific and the money will be used to purchase development credits which may include, for example, specific skills based external training programmes as well as cross-boundary work to broaden experience. Background papers Workforce Development Plan Contact for further information Tony Madden, Borough Human Resources Manager (01344)
5 APPENDIX A Bracknell Forest Borough Council s Succession Planning Policy (Draft) 7 THE FORMAT OF THE COUNCIL S SUCCESSION PLAN 7.1 The Council will take an approach to succession planning based on the identification of possible candidates through the existing appraisal scheme. This involves initiating a formal plan for a few specific/exceptional circumstances ( Targeted Development Programme ). 7.2 Under the Targeted Development Programme, a specific individual/s is nominated as a potential successor for an already identified key role(s) 8 THE SELECTION PROCESS 8.1 The Business Case The crux of the key role and potential successor identification process will revolve around a Business Case presented by managers (the level of the managers to be involved should be determined by each Department) to the DMT/Directors. The Business Case should comprise of: the identification of key roles within the managers team; a definition of each key role, its responsibilities, and the skills/competencies needed to succeed in it; and nominations for potential successors. 8.2 The Key Role(s) A key ( at risk ) role is one that is required to meet a specific need and exerts critical influence on the Council s operational and/or strategic activities. When identifying key roles, it is necessary to highlight organisational risk (if the role became vacant) and known staff factors (e.g. retirement etc). This can be supported by taking a risk management approach. Key roles can be identified by assessing the likelihood of each individual leaving the Council (or losing their skills, e.g. due to a change in technology) against the impact this would have on the Council if they were to do so. Critical roles (that would lend themselves to the Targeted Development Programme) are those that score highly in both dimensions. Key roles identified should be presented with a definition, a list of its main responsibilities, and the skills/competencies needed to succeed in it. 8.3 The Nomination/s The Business Case should also include a section that identifies potential successors. This could involve inviting expressions of interest and carrying out career interviews with interested parties to establish their aspirations, interests and career expectations. Expressions of interest could be made during one-to-one meetings with managers (the scheme would need to be openly advertised, possibly via the intranet
6 or team briefings for example, to ensure staff are aware of it). The opportunity should also be taken to discuss each individual s potential, their development needs for career progression and the roles they would want to be considered for through the Council s Performance Planning and Review Scheme which leads to the creation of a personal development plan. Potential successors should then be identified by studying appraisal/performance data, reviewing information obtained from CVs and interviews, and identifying current qualities (e.g. leadership skills, decision making skills, synchronicity with the Council s objectives/values/culture etc). This process can be supported by using the competency framework. The manager should recommend who they believe would have potential for the Targeted Development Programme. The manager should, if necessary, consult with departmental HR to support the decision of who to put forward for the scheme. If the manager believes that an individual who made an expression of interest is not ready for either the formal targeted development programme or the broader leadership programme, then this should be recorded at the end of the nominations section of the Business Case. The individual should be notified of this decision and care should be taken to show how their contribution is still very important to the Council and to discuss other possible future development opportunities (in line with their PDP). The manager may present a Business Case without any potential successors if it is deemed that there are no suitable successors within their team. 8.4 Presenting the Business Case Once the Business Case has been completed it should be taken to the DMT/Directors, and then to Borough s Human Resources Manager for final approval. Those nominated to the DMT may be asked to undertake a personal interview as part of the endorsement/selection process. 9 IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMMES 9.1 Responsibilities The programmes will be planned, organised and implemented by a combination of the individual/s involved, their manager, and the Corporate and Departmental HR functions. The Corporate HR function (and more specifically the Recruitment Strategy Manager) will oversee the process to ensure the proper application of policies and procedures. The manager of the individual involved, with the support of HR and the individual himself/herself, will create a personal development plan (built around the anticipated succession date if known) to bridge gaps and/or build on existing skills and experience. The competency framework can be used as a tool to assist in this consideration of future skill needs and current skills. For a summary of the roles and responsibilities see Annex B. 9.2 The Targeted Development Programme
7 The Targeted Development Programme will have four strands: - Learning by doing service (the skills/competencies needed in the role etc) - Learning by doing corporate (cross boundary work / projects etc) - Formal training opportunities - Mentor (teaming up with an external mentor who will provide external support, insight and advice) The Learning by doing strands are likely to involve the creation of a Deputy position (e.g. Deputy Director). The individual/s will continue to carry out the duties of their substantive position, but with the additional responsibilities/experience of the Deputy position (i.e. taking on some of the tasks of e.g. the Director). This is a vital element of succession planning as it ensures that the individual is broadening their business, cross-functional and strategic experience and not only getting a quick burst of training. 9.3 The Next Stages (Implementation, Monitoring and Review) i) Once the programme has been planned, the next stage is to implement the development activities. ii) iii) The progress of each individual needs to be continuously monitored and updated on a simple database. The database should contain information about the key role (if known), other potential successors (including emergency ones, short-term ones, and long-term ones), the individual s personal details, current position, work experience (externally), qualifications, work/job experience (internally), training undertaken, assessments, areas of development covered, areas of development outstanding, etc. During the running of the programme it is necessary to identify any changes in key roles (including vacancies or newly created positions) and revise the pool of candidates and the desired skills/abilities as necessary. 10 WHEN A KEY ROLE BECOMES VACANT 10.1 The vacancy is advertised in accordance with the Council s existing policies The Council will have a specific individual or pool suitable for the vacancy who has/have had the relevant training and business/cross-functional/strategic experience to put them in the position to make a very strong application for the vacancy. 11 MEASURING SUCCESS 11.1 A successful succession plan will exhibit the following qualities: - Faster or better job filling - Retention of key employees - Attraction of other talent - Motivated workforce - Cross-boundary moves taking place 12 THE COSTS / BUDGET
8 12.1 The budget for the first 12 months will be borne from the Innovations Fund; thereafter, it will be necessary to fund the programme from existing training and staffing budgets across the Council. 13 THE REVIEW The programmes will be reviewed after 12 months to reassess their principles, procedures, structures and budget.
9 ANNEX A PRINCIPLES To openly communicate the succession planning process, including the selection criteria requirements and benefits to all staff. To maintain consistent selection criteria and be fair and objective in the choice of potential candidates and the way in which they are assessed. To ask interested parties to nominate themselves to discuss their potential and their development needs for career progression and the roles they wish to be considered for. To notify those who have not been selected for the succession planning scheme and discuss with them their future development and work prospects. To harmonise succession planning with work-life balance practices by offering avenues for potential candidates to discuss their own career aspirations in line with their lifestyle requirements, thus giving them ownership of their development and future career. To conform to anti-discrimination/equalities legislation and the Local Government and Housing Act by carefully managing internal promotion to ensure the fair treatment of all candidates. To use succession planning as an opportunity to look at the overall future composition of the Council and to promote and develop a diverse workforce by ensuring that the skills of minority groups are fully developed. To consider potential successors for cross-departmental positions, rather than assume their skills and abilities are confined to one service area. To recognise the difference between Succession Planning (grooming an individual or a pool of individuals for promotion to a specified or unspecified key role in the future) and Workforce Development (the training and development of a group of individuals to improve their overall skills). To produce an accurate budget for each process planned, which would include development needs, acting up allowances, etc. To create and implement both core and bespoke development plans that prepare potential successors for their proposed future roles. To ensure the individuals take a strong and active role in their career and skill development. To create a working environment conducive to personal development (opportunities for training, cross-boundary moves, empowerment, feedback etc). To continually review the potential of prospective successors. To continually review and monitor the effectiveness of the policy and revise/improve as necessary to determine best practice. This includes assessing individual
10 performance to determine whether the objectives of the succession plan were achieved. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ANNEX B
11 Employees are responsible for: Expressing an interest in career progression. Buying into the process and considering development needs. Creating and keeping up-to-date career development plans. Working with managers to identify development opportunities. Making every effort to achieve development goals. Taking opportunities for development as they arise. Managers are responsible for: Fairly assessing those who make an expression of interest. Having open career discussions with employees. Identifying key/ at risk roles. Nominating potential successors. Presenting a Business Case to the DMT/Directors. Notifying those who have not been selected for the succession planning scheme. Working with individuals (and HR) on career development plans and providing growth opportunities. Providing support as necessary. Ensuring the current and future needs of the section/department are met. Departmental HR are responsible for: Assisting the manager with the Business Case as necessary (including the decision of who to nominate for the scheme). Assisting with career development plans as necessary. Supporting the DMT/Directors as required. Corporate HR, and more specifically the Recruitment Strategy Manager, are/is responsible for: Overseeing and managing the scheme, ensuring the proper application of policies and procedures. Assisting the DMT s and Directors with the selection decisions, including informing them of budget implications and resources. Promoting the succession planning scheme throughout the Council. Assisting with career development plans as necessary. Facilitating career development moves (including cross-boundary projects/assignments etc). Assisting managers in the identification of potential growth opportunities via moves/assignments/projects etc. Managing the budget. Monitoring the progress of those on the scheme (including the maintenance of a database). Continually reviewing the potential of prospective successors. Continually reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of the policy, revising/improving as necessary to determine best practice. The DMT/Directors are responsible for: Acting fairly in their consideration of the nominations within the Business Case.
12 Reaching an agreement of which nominations, if any, to endorse.