By Gerri King
Succession planning is no longer limited to deciding who will take over the family business. Today, the grooming of successors should be taking place at all levels of every organization.
With baby boomers retiring in large numbers and job opportunities expanding, the talent pool is shrinking. Jobs eliminated during the recession eliminated a lot of people who might have been eligible for promotion. Offering jobs to external candidates isn't the most effective way to fill positions. Plus, all organizations must hire for the future.
Why Hire from Within?
Grooming internal candidates ensures continuity, enhances skill levels, and makes transitions more seamless, since training begins long before an employee is promoted.
A new employee is far more expensive, during the interim, than a person who holds company history and institutional knowledge.
Recruiting from within means that employers are not waiting until a position becomes open to search for talent. They are creating capacity for future leaders, which allows choice from a talent pool that is already highly qualified, presently and for the future.
The benefit to the employee is that s/he is initially hired into an environment that values her or his growth, provides opportunities to develop new skills and abilities, and increases the chances for job security. Such an atmosphere is exciting because of its commitment to learning and development.
Though the goal is to fill future key leadership positions, this model can work for all levels of the organization. Imagine everyone embracing a learning model tied to a possible career path. Employees are ready for new roles and, when someone leaves, can easily step in with confidence. The message an employee receives is "we care about your future as well as the future of the organization."
Advantages to Employers
Reduced Transition Time
Employers can enjoy the advantage of avoiding the scramble to fill a position. Instead, they can choose from a number of viable and competent employees. Once chosen, the transition time is far less with someone who is already familiar with the workplace.
Increased Employee Retention
Employee satisfaction and retention are likely to increase because employees are more attracted to a supportive learning environment that delivers the message "those who work for us are valued and worth nurturing." Further, professional development is more meaningful when it's tied to possible career paths and individual growth.
Committed Team Players
Secession planning will provide a consistent supply of well-trained, experienced, and motivated people who are ready to step into key positions, while performing their present jobs with skill and commitment. These employees will be less resistant to change since they are part of the plan and committed to continuous improvement. If they are going to stay, they have a stake in the organization's success.
And, finally, the organization's image will improve - being seen as a challenging, stimulating place to work. New hires will quickly acquire the energy and excitement manifest by present employees, and the benefit to customers is immeasurable.
If this isn't convincing enough, consider the peace of mind created by the knowledge that the future will be in good hands.
Leadership Screening Questions
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