The CIPD and Adecco Labour Market Outlook Spring 2021 report[i] anticipates an increase in recruitment for the quarter: April – June 2021. To avoid your staff being lured away in this competitive market, now is the optimal time to create (or resurrect) career and succession plans.

diversity career succession

If your employees felt that changing jobs during the pandemic wasn’t wise, this might change as lockdown eases; people may well move away from job security in a dead-end role for the appeal of new, more challenging opportunities. In February 2021, People Management stated: ‘The number of promotions received by British workers has halved during the pandemic, a survey has found, leading to an increase in the number of people looking for a new job.’[ii]

Alignment with future plans

Before you start your career and succession planning in earnest, it’s a good idea to crosscheck your current organisation chart against future business plans.

  • Are the roles you’re earmarking for succession still going to be needed in 5 years?
  • How about in 10 years?
  • And if the roles will still be around, will they require the same skills?

Developing and mentoring today’s junior talent for today’s senior roles might not deliver the skills your business will need as it evolves.

Big-picture thinking

The pre-planning stage is also the right time to think about wider considerations – career and succession planning isn’t simply having someone ready to plug a gap.

  • What is your organisation’s approach to DEI?
  • How will you ensure your career and succession plans support DEI?
  • Would you consider rehiring talented leavers?
  • Do you stay in touch with your alumni?

This is also a good time to ask questions about your culture, and if there are any changes you’d like to make. Your career and succession plans can be an integral part of progressing not just your employees, but your overall business, too.

Working with the right tech tools

Once you’re ready to get into the nitty gritty of career and succession planning, you’ll want to ensure you have the right tools. Sitting around a boardroom table with large sheets of paper, moving around post-it notes with people’s names, isn’t a good approach for lots of reasons, not least of which the data security issues it would raise. And Excel spreadsheets should be another no no.

For well-informed, secure, career and succession planning, the best choice is an HR system with a dedicated career and succession planning module. Our recent article ‘What is career and succession planning software and what does it do?’ explains how and why HR systems like Cezanne HR is indispensable.

Is your process fair?

So, you’ve done your pre-planning and you have the right tools in place. How are you going to ensure your career and succession planning is fair and impartial? Using the hard data that your HR system provides will help, but you may also wish to look at who is involved in your career and succession planning.

  • If you’d like to improve DEI, is your career and succession planning being managed by a diverse group of people?
  • Is there a danger in your organisation that people are hiring and then promoting people just like themselves, perpetuating current DEI imbalances?

Assigning DEI quotas may be an option that your organisation could explore as part of career and succession planning. Staying up to date on best practice in career and succession planning is also prudent – for example, the CIPD has a factsheet[iii] on the subject that also includes information about additional resources.

Check your employees are in agreement

As we stated in ‘What is career and succession planning software and what does it do?’, it’s important to make sure your employees are in agreement with your plans for them. While this might seem like a given, it’s not always the case.

One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome can be having honest conversations with staff about the future. You may be hoping to promote them down the line, but where do they see themselves in 5 or 10 years? And will they be honest and say if they don’t plan to stay with the organisation that long if they’re worried about risking their current role?

HR and line managers need to be aware of this risk when they do their planning. It’s ideal to have a pool of people to draw from for promotion opportunities so future hopes aren’t pinned on one person. And creating an environment where people feel comfortable being honest about their aspirations without worrying they’ll be punished if they happen to lie elsewhere is also helpful.

Foster open communication with senior position holders

Similarly, it will be helpful if the people who currently hold key positions in your business feel like they can be honest about their future intentions. People might hold out from announcing when they intend to retire or move on to another organisation because they don’t want to be pushed out before they are ready. Having a general acknowledgement that people do move on, and that they won’t be punished for that, and perhaps an understanding between all involved that senior staff will provide HR with a heads up before official notice periods come into play, will make succession planning much easier.

Career and succession planning is a great way to engage your workforce and to nurture talent pools. When considerations such as your organisation’s culture and DEI are also taken into account, career and succession planning can be an instrumental tool in shaping your organisation for future success.

To find out more about how Cezanne HR can help you, please ask for your free demonstration today.




Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.