Effective Career Planning and Succession Planning

Systematic career planning efforts offer innumerable benefits to both the individuals and organizations. To ensure success here are a number of steps that should be taken.

Support: Career planning efforts must receive consistent support and continued blessings from the top management.

Goals: The corporate goals must be laid down clearly. It is not possible to develop appropriate goals for human resources if you are not very sure about your journey in the next 5 or 10 years.

Reward performance: employees must be wiling to expand their abilities, trainers must be willing to coach, counsel and share their knowledge with employees. There must be appropriate rewards for people from both sides who show promise.

Placement: Every effort must be made to put employees on jobs that are in tune with their capabilities. If a talented employee is put on a routine job, he will quit in frustration.

Career paths: The career paths for different types of employees must be laid down clearly. Fast track promotions should be available to talented people, seniors could be used on jobs requiring experience and judgment, juniors could be used for jobs that demand routine application of rules and procedures etc.

Continuous tracking: Career planning efforts should be carried out on a continuing basis keeping the changing needs of employees and the organization in mind. A record of career movements of employees must be kept and periodic assessment of who has gone where should be made.

Publicity: Everyone should be aware of the career opportunities within the organization.

Succession Planning:

The absence of a succession plan can seriously hamper the growth prospects of an organization. Imagine the disastrous consequences when there is a sudden vacuum at the top level. There is no one to steer the ship. Critical plans needing immediate action get postponed. The organization remains head less and directionless for a while. Suitable candidates may not be available internally as no one has been groomed in the past, keeping such an eventuality in mind. Bringing in outsiders may mitigate the crisis temporarily but the long term impact is bound to be negative. Internal forces may start a rebellion and create tug of war situations with frustrating regularity.

Succession planning is the process of ensuring suitable successors for current and future senior or key jobs arising from business strategy, so that the careers of individuals can be planned and managed to optimize the organization’s needs and the individuals’ aspirations.

The purpose of succession planning is to identify and develop people to replace current job holders in key positions. Through succession planning, companies assure a steady flow of internal talent to fill important vacancies. Succession planning encourages hiring from within and creates healthy environment where employees have career and not merely jobs. It helps in identifying human resource shortages and skill shortages before openings occur. Thereafter it becomes easy to groom qualified candidates for future vacancies. The organization is thus assured of continuity operations and better qualified incumbents.

Preparing a schedule for succession is critical to the success of a company especially at the top level. When the baton changes over a period of time disruption and dislocation are minimized. Indeed when a new CEO is meant to consolidate on past success a slow shift is ideal. If qualified candidates are not available within the company. Outsiders can be considered readily for possible openings. Complete dependence on succession from within or from outside is not desirable. Internal candidates require a pat on the back when they do well. External candidates are needed for injecting fresh blood into the company.

Source: HRM