Elaine Reynolds

Senior HCM SAP/SuccessFactors Consultant

HCM: Looking for Leaders in Your Own Backyard (2 of 4)


passing the baton

Succession planning is a process, not a one-time strategy to check off the to-do-list. This blog series outlines key steps in the succession planning process.  To read the series from the beginning, click here.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the concepts to get feel of what we are talking about:

  • Identify key positions and the skills required to fill those positions

A key position can be defined in many different ways, but two important criteria that should be considered are criticality and retention risk.  A critical position is one that, if it were vacant, would have a significant impact on the organization’s ability to conduct normal business. Retention risk refers to positions where the departure of an employee is expected (e.g. retirement) or likely (e.g. history of turnover).

And now what about the skills needed for these positions…..

First you should identify core competencies and skills needed to lead the organization. To do this, the following steps can be used:

  1. Determine talents needed for the long term (Leadership, Domain expertise, Financial savvy)
  2. Review current job description and revise and update (positions change, so then does the job description)
  3. Review salary history, budget, and market rates for position
  4. Seek key stakeholder input (who other than the person holding the position to give input)
  5. Have open and honest discussions about executive performance

This perhaps is one of the more difficult concepts to achieve, according to Joel Trammell’s article, How Do You Evaluate CEO Performance? 6 Ways To Grade The Chief.

One way to accomplish this could be by a committee chosen by the Board of Directors to review the CEO or top executives. Being able to analyze the skills of the top executives will help determine any gaps or additional skills a leader may need. This will also aid in defining the development plan for future leaders of the company.

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