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HR's Role in Succession Planning and Talent Management

Human Resources (HR) is the department responsible for people in an organisation, dealing with recruiting, supporting, and maintaining productive and satisfied employees.

Professionals in HR are often doing tasks like hiring new employees, handling payroll and benefits, providing training and development, managing employee relations, and making sure that the company follows employment laws and regulations.

Essentially, HR is all about managing talent and ensuring that the workforce stays aligned with its company’s objectives through a healthy company culture and employee engagement.

What is Talent Management?

The perfect fit of talent is what makes an organisation successful. In fact, talent management, as McKinsey suggest, is about finding, growing, and keeping the best employees in a company by:

  • Choosing the right people for the job
  • Helping them get better at it
  • Making sure they stay loyal and continue to grow the company

However, talent management is much more than that, it indeed includes various activities that aim to attract, recruit, identify, develop, engage, retain, and deploy talented people. It also includes attracting talent while nurturing internal talent as per CIPD.

What is Succession Planning?

Within talent management, it may happen that people decide to move on to new opportunities or industries, retire, or pass away. This is where succession planning comes in place, helping to avoid any sudden disruption to the workflow of an enterprise and helping make sure that there are always capable people ready to take over.

Succession planning involves:

  • Identifying who could take over important roles
  • Helping employees to get ready for roles
  • Being ready to move them when needed

However, for HR to ensure that succession planning runs smoothly and seamlessly, it’s important to implement the following tips.

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HR's Tips for Finding Ideal Leaders

The talent management department is responsible for identifying potential successors within an enterprise by recognising current and high-potential employees but also ensure that they are given the right opportunities to showcase their abilities. Overall, this involves HR assessing employees' qualities, skills as well as their leadership potential. Here are strategies that ensure a successful succession within an organisation:

1. Promote an Inspiring Organisational Culture

As an HR professional, it’s important to support and foster a growing culture which is aligned with the organisation’s vision, mission, and values. Doing this will ensure that employees are in the right place and are occupying positions relevant to their experiences, skills, and knowledge.

Moreover, promoting your company culture will help you attract top talent. However, securing the best candidates is only the first step, retaining them is equally important. Furthermore, making them stay motivated and engaged  in the long run, encourages innovation and adaptability and enhances  the brand’s reputation and image externally by keeping employees feeling valued and happy. To do so, consider:

  • Providing clear paths, mentorship and opportunities for them to grow within the company
  • Acknowledge and reward their contributions regularly
  • Open channels of communication for feedback and constructive dialogue
  • Maintain an environment where employees feel that they are heard and included

Indeed, continuous feedback is key to retaining talent once it’s on board but it also allows a perception of continuous growth and inclusivity from its individuals.

2. Develop Talent Efficiently

To foster an inspiring and growing organisational culture, it’s crucial to encourage individuals to keep a growth mindset and develop their skills. It is the responsibility of the company to making training, development, and continuous knowledge accessible to its employees. To do so, you can:

  • Provide mentorship opportunities from managers, executives and chief executives
  • Offer continuous learning and development opportunities
  • Create personalised workshops for different departments

These types of initiatives help to upskill and reskill employees, and will allow them to navigate any sudden or rapid market changes, adapt to them effectively and stay ahead of competition in the job market. It also permits them to refine and develop their current skills while learning new ones.

Additionally, developing talent helps organisations and individuals improve in several ways, through goal setting and self-assessments to find areas where improvement is needed, lifelong learning to embrace a mindset of continuous learning, embracing technology by adapting new tools at work, and in some cases, it permits individuals to network efficiently with professionals from their industry, allowing them to access several insights and collaborations.

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3. Engage, Retain, and Communicate

Maintaining a growth mindset is usually accompanied by strong teamwork, ongoing communication, and transparency. In fact, most healthy habits of high-performance organisations often include communicating clear objectives, caring for your people and recognising their accomplishments through:

  • Positive feedback
  • Rewards
  • Acknowledging their contributions and efforts

Being considerate of employee morale and mental health will strengthen their trust, increase their engagement, and make them more committed to the organisation’s goals and objectives.

As this article by Zuirich explores, by engaging with employees and retaining talent, organisations are more likely to identify and develop leadership traits or skills. Eventually, HR individuals can tailor leadership development strategies according to employees’:

  • Qualities,
  • Skills,
  • Accomplishments, and
  • Alignment with organisational values

Knowing this, HR can develop opportunities to pronounce or increase the use of their leadership traits involving specific programs shaped to everyone’s needs and goals, providing hands-on experience, project leadership and cross-departmental collaborations. This will help organisations evaluate the eligibility of the future leaders.

4. Evaluate, Improve and Plan Ahead Continuously

Supporting succession planning, means that HR needs to evaluate individuals that should be next-in-line for leadership roles. Not only do they need to provide them with the necessary training and development, but they must also continuously evaluate and improve the leadership succession process as well as its potential outcomes.

Staying prepared for any sudden changes and workforce losses will allow organisations to implement cross-training or job rotation programs to build a solid pipeline of talent that can fill future gaps.

Therefore, HR professionals in fact need to monitor employees’ behaviour, strengths, improvements, and growth to measure their effectiveness and impact of the future succession. This will allow organisations to anticipate any future leadership needs by conducting several workforce assessments and planning. Moreover, this type of data can be used as feedback to make any necessary adjustments and improvements in current training to ensure that everything is aligned with the company and leaders’ goals and continuously changing needs.

In addition, data can identify any critical roles within a company and develop relevant succession plans for key positions. This will encourage a seamless transition as well as ensure a relevant efficient and successful succession.

5. Make Effective Succession Decisions

Nowadays, it is important to maintain a certain diversity and inclusion quota to ensure a high-performance and successful organisation. Utilizing laws and regulations requirements as well as assessing how ready candidates are to fit leadership roles will allow higher managers to make informed succession decisions.

However, to ensure fairness and consistency in the selection process, organisations must establish clear objectives and criteria when evaluating employees. Staying transparent and regularly reviewing and discussing succession candidates’ performance will allow both individuals and stakeholders or senior managers to view different perspective and insights. Moreover, it will open the door for improvement by giving the chance for employees to understand what they’re missing or need to develop to ensure the career growth they want.


Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Creating an environment that nurtures future leaders is all about utilizing and improving current organisational resources to maintain a successful, sustainable, and resilient workforce.

Adopting these strategies, HR professionals can play an important and proactive role in cultivating managers that are prepared and ready to lead organisations into the future. Moreover, they can empower employees to maximise their productivity and performance as well as drive organisational success in a fast-changing and uncertain environment.

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