Imagine the leadership of a large organization trying to decide which employees to promote to fill a vacated or new position within the organization. The problem with this approach is, in most cases, the names of possible candidates tend to be limited to people the executives in that boardroom know personally. The result, in far too many instances, is that an employee, whether qualified or not, tapped on the shoulder and informed, “Today you are an employee and tomorrow you’ll be a supervisor or manager.”
Ideally, an organization should already have a succession plan or employee development plan in place that sets in motion proactive employee training to meet future needs. A good succession plan identifies the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and experience needed to perform effectively at a specific position in an organization. Once the specifics of the position are clarified, potential candidates should be made aware of the position’s requirements. Good managers and supervisors should be grooming and developing their employees by giving them opportunities to learn other focused duties that increase their value to the organization, and allow them to gain valuable experience.
The organization’s leadership should be tracking each individual’s growth and development and be able to identify an employee’s potential for moving up in the organization. This approach develops a succession plan that identifies an individual’s skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience in relation to his or her readiness and qualifications to fill the next higher position on the corporate ladder. Organizations would then be able to study its employee population and identify an employee’s qualifications for promotion whether ready now, in six months or a year. With a good succession plan in place the organization will always know what type of depth it has in employees ready to move up, and is able to respond rather than react if key individuals suddenly depart the organization.
Employees, when surveyed, will tell you that what motivates them to stay with an organization is the ability to learn, to grow and have opportunities for advancement. The main issue does not always concern money. Creating a succession plan allows an organization to let people know what they need to do in order to be considered for growth within the organization. It is not a promise of promotion, but it does place some responsibility for personal development back in the hands of the employees.
Creating a realistic succession plan and involving individuals in their own career development can make an organization more appealing, improve morale and reduce turnover. Once a succession plan is created and employee recognizes that their future depends a great deal on their own personal growth efforts, organizations must be prepared to promote from within their own ranks. Recruiting outside of the organization when qualified internal candidates exist can cause a drop in morale and create turnover issues.