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Why Succession Planning Is Critical Now
July 13, 2014

Sylvie Plante Sylvie Plante
Senior Consultant, Facilitator and Project Manager

For more than a decade, Treasury Board, APEX and government executives across the country have identified Succession Planning as a priority, to manage risks associated with the departure of experienced leaders and loss of corporate memory.

In practice, retirements have accelerated with the recent downsizing, and the additional workloads from flatter organizations are making high potential employees turn away from promotions. Public sector organizations are increasingly challenged to respond in a timely way to strategic workforce gaps, thereby impacting the quality of management decisions, alignment of horizontal initiatives, and partnering across sectors.

Post-DRAP, budgeting constraints and fewer positions are squeezing the ability of federal organizations to sustain their leadership capability. Funding for developmental positions and leadership programs is limited.  The failure to make long-term investments in Succession Planning over the last decade is now forcing many leadership teams to respond in crisis mode and bring in contracted resources. This costs more and puts the performance of entire teams at risk.  Poorly planned succession efforts that default to external recruitment also affect the morale of managers who aspire to more influential positions in their organizations. Waiting for the next generation to address the challenges of proper succession management is no longer an option.

Consider in your approach:
  • Implementing an integrated business and workforce plan that invests in the development of key competencies to build talent pools for critical positions

  • Building on government-wide investments in leadership competencies, and talent management initiatives that link succession planning with performance management, leadership development, as well as recruitment.

  • Maintaining a fair and transparent performance management process to evaluate performance and potential in an unbiased way, across organizational silos.

  • Putting strategies in place to transfer knowledge through updated processes, mentoring, and information management.

  • Providing developmental experiences to employees that build agility for the future while contributing usable business solutions today.

  • Updating the organization structure to facilitate horizontal flows of information and collaboration, as well as collective leadership.

  • Communicating the succession management process to build engagement and commitment in employees, so they can manage their careers in sync with the organization’s vision and future needs.