Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one Developing and Implementing Succession Plans

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1 Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one Developing and Implementing Succession Plans

2 Contents WGEA Tool: Developing Succession Plans 3 Introduction 3 Developing and Implementing Succession Plans 3 The key to making a difference 4 What does a succession plan look like? 5 Three models of succession planning 6 Model One: Succession planning by position management driven 6 Model Two: Creating succession planning pools 6 Model Three: Top-down/bottomup succession planning 7 Implementing a pilot succession plan 9 What is the business case for succession planning? 11 Measurement and evaluation 11 Resources 11 Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 2

3 WGEA Tool: Developing Succession Plans Introduction Creating a succession plan is key to running a sustainable operation. Effective succession planning will ensure there is always a pool of talented employees to meet the organisation s future needs. Your organisation s succession plan should be aligned with diversity and gender equity strategies. This ensures fair and equitable career pathways are available to women and men across all levels of the organisation, not just management positions. Developing and Implementing Succession Plans The key to making a difference What does succession planning look like? Three models of succession planning Implementing a pilot succession plan Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 3

4 The key to making a difference Ensure there is a strategic orientation Succession planning must be linked with your organisation's overall strategy. This includes developing a vision of what the future holds, as well as the skills and qualities that will be required for employees (at all levels) to be successful in the future. This vision must be clearly stated and widely circulated, so that it is available to all. Ensure managers are committed and are active participants. It is particularly important that senior managers demonstrate their commitment to succession planning and that their active participation is communicated to all employees. While some of the value of succession planning can be seen immediately, its full value will require a long term commitment by senior managers. Establish a broad definition of succession planning that includes the widest talent pool. This is especially critical to ensure effective outcomes for women. Ensure there is ownership at line management level and above. Succession plans have been shown to be much more effective if they are owned (delivered and accounted for) at the line management level. Ensure there is dedicated responsibility at a high level. It is important for there to be a key manager who is responsible for the overall delivery of the plan. This will also ensure that it receives appropriate attention and resources. Have an effective tool for assessing employees development needs. The most basic form of this is a performance appraisal. Properly done, a performance appraisal can meet this need. However, the validity of performance appraisal is often questionable, depending upon the tool itself, the skill of the managers conducting appraisals, and the consistency with which it is administered. Integrate the plan with diversity and gender equity strategies. Link the plan to a mentoring program. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 4

5 What does a succession plan look like? The first step is to determine your own model for a succession plan. There are several possibilities. How have succession plans been defined? "A means of identifying critical management positions, starting at the levels of project manager and supervisor and extending up to the highest position in the organization. Succession planning also describes management positions to provide a maximum flexibility in lateral management moves and to ensure that as individuals achieve greater seniority, their management skills will broaden and become more generalized in relation to total organizational objectives rather than to purely departmental objectives." (Carter, 1986). More recently however, succession plans have been broadened to include both the need to identify and develop talent or high achievers, as well provide continuity in all key positions in organisations. Defining what the key positions are in the context of a changing business environment is one of the major challenges in designing an effective plan. Another major challenge is to ensure that the program results in equitable outcomes. Of particular concern are the following: the risk of cloning existing managers the risk of overlooking quiet achievers in favour of those employees who stand out in the organisation the risk of disillusioning and de-motivating the majority of employees who do not make the high potential list. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 5

6 Three models of succession planning Model One: Succession planning by position management driven Incumbent identifies the individual(s) who are in their view best qualified to move into the position in the short term (say within 1 year); the medium term (within 2 years) or the longer term (3-5 years). The incumbent may also identify their perception of the development needs of the candidates they have named. Develop the succession plan. Sometimes the organisation decides that the succession plan is a strictly confidential document; consequently the only people who are aware of the succession plan are those who develop it. Even when there is some awareness that a succession plan exists, frequently the people on the succession list are not told that they are, unless the company decides to create fast track programs for these individuals. Sometimes the information is leaked informally, however employees are rarely consulted or asked to participate in the process. Following the development of the succession plan, there may or may not be specific development for the individuals who made the list. Sometimes the incumbent will take a special interest in one individual who has been identified as a potential successor, and will develop a mentor/protégé relationship, in which the incumbent coaches and guides the person who has been identified for their role. Advantages of this approach: This is the simplest model. It is based on the assumption that the best person to identify who would be able to do the job is the person who is currently doing it. The most common reason why organisations use this model is that it is often the approach the CEO is most comfortable with. He/she is able to scan the list and see if there are any positions which have no identified successors (thus identifying succession gaps in the organisation). He/she can also look at which names tend to arise most frequently, providing a snapshot of those who are generally perceived to be the stars. This approach is the least costly and the quickest; and does not require a high level of organisational commitment. It serves the purpose of ensuring at a minimum that managers are thinking about succession issues; and are aware that succession planning is partly their responsibility. Disadvantages/risks: There is a high risk of encouraging corporate "cloning". This can have serious business and EEO implications. The incumbent (who may have a fairly narrow perspective of the world) tends to identify individuals who are most like him/her in terms of educational background, experience, and personality style. Unconsciously, they may be also looking for someone of the same gender, socio-economic status, and family situation. (Indeed some will even acknowledge that they believe these to be relevant to the ability to do the job; although such biases often "go underground" and the managers know better than to openly acknowledge that these are their belief systems!) This approach can be problematic in large organisations in which the incumbent in the position does not know employees across the organisation. The identified successors tend to be people the incumbent works with, and candidates from other areas are not considered. There is a risk that the person identified does not aspire to the promotional positions they have been identified for. Model Two: Creating succession planning pools In this model, high potential candidates are identified within the organisation as the senior managers of the future. They are usually selected by a task force of senior managers (often with the assistance of Human Resources) who set aside a day or more to go through a list of all employees above a certain level and assess which individuals should be identified as high potential. To facilitate decision making, they will often agree on some criteria by which to select the individuals, and may have the person's most recent performance appraisal as an additional resource. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 6

7 In some cases, candidates may be further narrowed down through an assessment centre process or through an interview/evaluation process. Once the pool has been identified, those who make the list will generally receive some special attention. How much attention will depend on the organisation's willingness to make a financial commitment to the program. Often the Human Resource Department puts together a "fast track" program in which they assist the person to develop an individual development plan. They may provide some group training, they may institute a mentoring program, and identify certain training programs these people should attend. Advantages of this approach: This type of approach tends to be somewhat fairer because more managers are involved in the selection of the people who are identified for the High Potential program; thus providing some checks to offset bias. However for this to be effective it is essential that the committee undertaking the selection is itself both diverse and open to organisational diversity. It also tends to be fairer because some criteria for selection of high potentials are usually applied. This approach is also more likely to recognise the value of providing broad background for the high potential employees rather than a single functional stream of experience. Disadvantages/risks: In large organisations the majority of employees may not be well known to the task force members, and their view of the person may be influenced by the level of visibility the person has in the organisation (which of course can be limited by the type of work they do and even their relationship with their manager). As a result, talented employees who do not have a high profile may be overlooked all together. An even more insidious problem is the effect on employee morale of having such a program for those who are sometimes called "the anointed ones". In many organisations, it is widely known which employees have been identified as high-potentials, the other non-identified employees can be severely discouraged and demoralised. Some organisations have discovered that the backlash from a high-potential program offsets any benefits it may have. Some organisations discontinue their high potential/fast track programs for this reason. Model Three: Top-down/bottom-up succession planning This model is based on the current and expected future needs of the organisation, as well as on ongoing two-way communication with employees. It has the greatest potential to be able to deliver improved outcomes for women. This process involves: Senior management as a group determines what competencies are required to enable a person to take on the key roles, for example, at a middle or senior management level, considering organisational requirements for the manager/employee of the future. Certain criteria for progression are determined as across-the-board requirements for development, for example, education levels, organisational cross training, and participation in management training. All employees at a pre-determined level are provided with the information developed by Senior Management via a session about succession planning and career development. This session outlines clearly the requirements for progression in the organisation. This enables employees to determine whether or not they are interested in progression and to self-identify if they wish to be involved in a program which will help them to meet the criteria for development and progression. Employees who signal their interest in progression then participate in a workshop in which they are given guidance and led through such processes as: a) 360 degree feedback to determine their strengths and weaknesses particularly relating to management skills, b) the preparation and review of their own individual development, c) learning how to take responsibility for their own career growth, and d) considering what would be good "next moves" for them to make in their careers. Assessment centres could also be used as part of the workshops. The results of the 360 degree feedback, as well as the individual development plans, and possible "next moves" would be maintained by a manager on a human resource information system. Each person's file would be updated annually or more frequently. A report on each of the people participating in the development program would be generated annually. This report would provide input for any senior level succession planning taking Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 7

8 place. Thus senior management would be able to get a snapshot of how many people aspire to progression, and what progress they are making in working through organisational requirements. Employees who initially opted not to participate in the development program are able to change their mind at any time and join the development program. Advantages of this approach: Because the program leans so much on employee self-selection, there is less likely to be conflict with EO principles and thus ensure that a broader group of people participate. The program serves to empower employees. It helps them feel that they have some control over their careers and are not at the mercy of others. The across-the-board criteria for progression ensure that there is less chance to work the system (e.g. to wire jobs for favoured applicants). The process is transparent. There need be no secrets or hidden agendas. This engenders a higher level of trust. Disadvantages/risks: Three things are pre-requisite for the success of this program: Strong across-the-board support at the most senior levels of the organisation, consistency in application, and follow-through. A program like this should not be introduced if there is not a strong commitment to its continuation. At a minimum, two years would be required in order to see significant results and a changing culture. To ensure that gender equity outcomes are enhanced, it is also important in this process to: Have consistency and uniformity in the process of job analysis, definition of competencies and in performance evaluation processes. Ensure that high-potential women are identified and that managers are proactive in this process. Have diversity or equal employment outcomes included in the performance indicators of management, for example, retention of women or number of women included on the succession plan. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 8

9 Implementing a pilot succession plan Here are suggested steps for the effective design and implementation of a pilot program for succession planning. The plan will need to remain flexible to meet the requirements of all involved. 1. Convene a steering committee for the pilot - this should include a diverse range of employees. 2. Conduct individual interviews with a range of senior managers to get determine their views about the future, including the needs of your organisation and the changing business environment. What kind of education, experience, cross training, should people have? What skills and competencies will be needed? Explain the model for succession planning and get their input on the model and the pilot. 3. Summarise the data and conduct a senior management workshop to resolve unclear areas. The key outcome needed is the definition of the future and the required competencies for key positions in the organisation. Clarify and discuss the pilot and the ultimate objective of developing a succession plan. Select a pilot location. 4. Summarise the results of the senior management session and develop an introductory session for all employees at the pilot location. This session should first be presented to the current managers in the participating location, to ensure that they are familiar with the pilot, its purposes, and how it will affect them and their employees. 5. Following the session for managers, the introductory session should be presented to all employees in order to: introduce the employees to the new standards for succession planning give employees an opportunity to ask questions and raise any issues of concern explain the pilot project and the benefits of participating in it establish employees interested in participating. 6. Work with the management group to develop a draft "succession pool" for key positions. 7. Conducting the pilot The pilot should consist of 4 one-day workshops conducted over a 4 month period. It is suggested that the workshops be conducted separately for different groups of employees, for example, professional and administration, due to the fact that the two groups are likely to have different issues and concerns. The workshops should consist of participants and should be highly interactive. Session 1 Evaluate employees' understanding of and attitudes towards career development as it is now. Include information about their desire to progress as well as how likely they feel progression possibilities are for them. This evaluation would be carried out via a survey and follow-up focus groups. Additional topics that could be covered are: evaluation of current status of career development the importance of taking responsibility for their own career development requirements for progression within their organisation what the new requirements (if any) are likely to be, for example, education, qualifications, specific experience etc what are the qualities that help people progress. Session 2: Openness to change and personal development Understanding: the importance of knowing your own talents, strengths, and weaknesses career stallers and stoppers how to rate your own promotability. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 9

10 Session 3: Developing your own individual development plan Understanding: what are individuals long-term personal career goals some appropriate personal next moves what needs to be done to achieve these next moves in terms of education, experience, relocation, training and skill how to develop the individual development plan. This should be followed up with: homework: reality checking your individual development plan beginning work on the plan. Session 4: Succession planning Feedback from homework assignments (i.e. reality checking, beginning work). What if we don't agree with others' assessment of us? Where should I be on the succession plan? 8. Prepare records of the workshop participants' individual development plans including: position(s) aspired to readiness for the position(s) goals, tasks achieved during the pilot study goals, tasks to be achieved over the next 12 months. 9. Create the organisational succession plan. Work with a diverse team of managers (ensure 50% females represented, as well as other targeted groups). Review the concept of succession planning. What is a succession plan? Present the succession list developed by workshop participants (this would include their developmental needs). Managers should work together to develop an organisational succession plan including validation of the workshop participants input. They will confirm the employee's position on the succession plan - this should be done by identifying key positions, potential successors, an assessment of readiness (in terms of a timeframe, now, one year, two years etc...) and the identification of developmental needs. There may be additional employees who they feel should be on the succession plan, even though the employees did not participate in the workshop. If this is the case, it is important to confirm that the employee is interested in promotion, and to get an assessment of their qualifications. 10. Feedback to workshop participants One-to-one feedback should be given to the workshop participants. If their input to the succession plan has been validated, they need to know that they are on the succession plan; and what that means and doesn't mean, for example, it doesn't automatically mean that they will get the next promotion! If the committee did not agree with the employee's self-assessment, it needs to be made quite clear why that is the case and what actions the employee could take to deal with any perceived skills or experience "gaps". 11. Final project evaluation. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 10

11 What is the business case for succession planning? Rothwell (2001) has reviewed the major reasons for having a succession plan: to accelerate the development and improve the retention of talented people. This argument is particularly relevant to the development and retention of talented women, a group often neglected in organisations to identify ongoing needs for replacement and design appropriate training and employee development programs to increase the pool of talented employees to fill key positions to add value to the organisation's strategic plan and contribute to ongoing business strategies to ensure individuals receive appropriate developmental opportunities and are successful in their career goals to ensure that the organisation has full access to the intellectual capital of their employees to improve employee morale and commitment to the organisation to encourage the development and advancement of the diverse group of employees. Measurement and evaluation Rothwell (2001) has adapted the well-known four-level Kirkpatrick training evaluation hierarchy and suggests the following measurement and evaluation strategies: Participant satisfaction This includes evaluating overall satisfaction, satisfaction with each component of the program, including job descriptions, competency models, performance appraisal processes and satisfaction with individual career plans etc. Program progress This includes an assessment of how well the program has worked when compared with the stated objectives and how well an individual is progressing through their developmental experiences. Effective placements This includes identifying the percentages of vacancies in key positions are filled internally, how quickly vacancies in key positions are filled and how quickly internal replacements for key positions are able to perform to the level required in the position. Organisational results. Determine what successes or failures in the organisational plan are attributable to the succession plan, and whether there have been changes in the gender and diversity profile of employees filling key organisational positions. Resources Carter, N. (1986), Guaranteeing management's future through succession planning. Journal of Information Systems Management, Rothwell, W. J. (2001), Effective Succession Planning. New York: AMACOM. Workplace Gender Equality Agency Promotion, Transfer and Termination attachment one 11

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