Growing Talent from Within: Being Intentional in Growth and Succession Planning
When was the last time a seasoned leader in your firm left, and you had no one ready to take his or her place?
I learned this challenge early on as a senior manager, feeling the pain of taking on the responsibilities of the open void plus my own. And add recruiting a new hire on top of the workload. I became more intentional in my talent development, identifying high-potential talent to groom and mentor through special assignments.
Succession planning is a vital strategy for organizations looking to build a strong and sustainable workforce and foster a culture of growth and development. Use the following 6 steps to get started.
- Determine Strategy: Define the goals and objectives of your succession planning program. What are you trying to achieve, and what specific outcomes do you expect? Then determine which positions are critical for its success. These may include leadership roles, specialized roles, or positions that are difficult to fill externally. Map out the core competencies needed to be successful in each role.
- Assess Current Talent: Choose assessment tools that align with your organization's goals and the competencies you want to measure. These could include personality assessments, cognitive assessments, and skill assessments. Ensure assessments are fair, unbiased, and inclusive. Then identify a diverse pool of high-potential employees within your organization to begin to assess to have data for planning.
- Build Succession Plan: Use assessment data to make data-driven decisions in succession planning discussions. Assessments provide valuable insights into which individuals are best suited for specific roles. Consider creating talent profiles or matrices summarizing assessment results and readiness levels for key roles.
Once individuals are identified, work with each to create personalized development plans based on assessment results and alignment to growth opportunities. These plans should include specific goals, targeted training, and developmental assignments. Focus on short-term and long-term development needs.
- Create Development Opportunities: Invest in learning and development programs that equip employees with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their current roles and prepare for future ones. This may include workshops, courses, coaching, and leadership programs. Pair individuals with mentors who can help them address their development needs. Consider cross-training and job rotation to broaden employees' skills and exposure to different parts of the organization. This can help them gain a holistic view of the business.
- Promote Continuous Learning: Foster a culture where development is valued. Encourage employees at all levels to seek growth opportunities and take ownership of their careers. Communicate openly with employees about the organization's growth and succession planning efforts. Make sure they understand the opportunities available to them and the criteria for advancement.
- Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor the progress of your succession planning program. This can be accomplished through regular check-ins, performance reviews, and additional assessments. Be prepared to adjust strategies and plans based on changing business needs and individual performance.
Hold regular succession planning meetings to discuss potential successors for key roles. This should involve senior leaders and HR professionals who can assess candidates' readiness.
Regularly review and improve your assessment processes based on feedback and results. Ensure that your assessments align with your organization's evolving needs and goals.
Remember to recognize and reward high-potential employees for their contributions and commitment to development. This can include promotions, salary increases, bonuses, or other forms of recognition.
Being intentional in growth and succession planning not only helps an organization prepare for leadership transitions but also creates a culture of employee growth, engagement, and loyalty.
About the Author
Jaime Chambron, Founder and Consultant, The CX Ops Lab
Jaime has 20+ years of experience building, growing, and transforming talent within over a dozen tech organizations and launching three businesses. Starting as an Internet consultant in the Bay Area, she navigated her way across and up organizations to land service and customer success executive leadership roles throughout her journey. Finding every tech company she walked into over the last decade faced the same challenges in scaling with growth, she launched The CX Ops Lab to leverage what she has learned to help growing organizations proactively develop or turn around teams. She is also an original co-founder of the Alliance of Technology and Women (ATW) based in Dallas, Texas. In 2002, she launched the secondary school girls in tech program GREAT MINDS, which continues to thrive today. Jaime holds a computer science degree from Harvard University.