<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Develop A Succession Plan To Create Two Levels Of Leaders
April 9, 2004
When you select a workforce-planning model, your first inclination might be to implement the most sophisticated planning model you can envision. Instead, start with a model that is the easiest to understand and implement.
The foundation of workforce planning is a workforce forecast. It's a month-by-month view of the following:
Predicted turnover (voluntary and involuntary)
Retirements and extended absences
Promotions or transfers in/out
There's nothing more frustrating than hiring and training a group of managers, only to have them leave just when you need them the most. In a small firm, the retention of key managers is even more crucial because the firm's small size means there are likely to be few "surplus" managers available should someone leave.
Select employees you feel are potential leaders. The secret to leadership development in a small firm is to give these individuals numerous small projects--or parts of bigger projects--where they can act as leaders for a short period of time. You can also use short-term job rotations to give them broader experience. By offering rewards and incentives to managers for developing others, you can speed up the learning process while simultaneously ensuring that your managers don't get jealous or become concerned about their own job security.
Even if your retention and leadership development programs work well, it's still a good idea to have a strong recruiting component in your workforce plan. Start by recruiting people that have the skill not just to do their current job, but also the potential to do the job at least one level above them. Also consider developing a pool of contractors, consultants, and retirees that could fill in quickly, if necessary, should your retention or leadership development efforts fail. Build relationships with them over time so that when you do have an immediate need, the finding and assessment parts of your plan are already complete.