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A Sample Succession Planning Policy

February 23, 2005
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A good succession-planning program aims to identify high growth individuals, train them and feed the pipelines with new talent. Here’s an outline of one program.

Purpose
   
To ensure replacements for key job incumbents in executive, management, technical, and professional positions in the organization. This policy covers middle management positions and above in [name of organization].

Desired Results
   
The desired results of the succession planning program are to:

  • Identify high-potential employees capable of rapid advancement to positions of higher responsibility than those they presently occupy.

  • Ensure the systematic and long-term development of individuals to replace key job incumbents as the need arises due to deaths, disabilities, retirements, and other unexpected losses.

  • Provide a continuous flow of talented people to meet the organization’s management needs.

  • Meet the organization’s need to exercise social responsibility by providing for the advancement of protected labor groups inside the organization.

Procedures
    The succession planning program will be carried out as follows:

    1. In January of each year, the management development director will arrange a meeting with the CEO to review results from the previous year’s succession planning efforts and to plan for the present year’s process.

    2. In February top managers will attend a meeting coordinated by the management development director in which:

  1. The CEO will emphasize the importance of succession planning and review the previous year’s results.
  2. The management development director will distribute forms and establish due dates for their completion and return.
  3. The management development director will review the results of a computerized analysis to pinpoint areas of the organization in which predictable turnover, resulting from retirements or other changes, will lead to special needs for management talent.
  4. The results of a computerized analysis will be reviewed to demonstrate how successful the organization has been in attracting protected labor groups into high-level positions and to plot strategies for improving affirmative action practices.

    3. In April the forms will be completed and returned to the MD director. If necessary, a follow-up meeting will be held.

    4. Throughout the year, the management development director will periodically visit top managers to review progress in developing identified successors throughout their areas of responsibility.

    5. As need arises, the database will be accessed as a source of possible successors in the organization.

Source: William J. Rothwell and H. C. Kazanas, Building In-House Leadership and Management Development Programs (Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books, 1999), p. 131. Used with permission.

Excerpted from Beyond Training and Development by William J. Rothwell. Copyright © 2005 Williams J. Rothwell. Published byAMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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