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Theme: Workforce and Succession Planning

Workforce and succession planning continues to evolve from little more than a set of reactive measures based on human resources changes into a well-planned business strategy which addresses and develops an organization’s talent needs. This evolution offers tangible value that focuses on talent and develops leaders and key contributors. A business strategy that embraces lifelong learning and workforce productivity not only helps the organization achieve its goals, but encourages a culture full of fruitful employees looking for professional development opportunities.

Workforce planning and succession planning have the same overarching goal—place the right talent across the organization into correct roles

Workforce and succession
planning can greatly
benefit from advanced
training programs such
as those enabled by
contemporary eLearning
technology.

which includes current and future positions. However, workforce planning is typically budget-driven and focused on staff-level jobs, hiring forecasts and internal resource projections. Succession is a systematic approach to professional development with purpose to ensure that selected employees are trained, experienced and ready to assume future leadership positions (Workforce, 2012). Both initiatives, however, can benefit massively from advanced training programs such as those enabled by contemporary eLearning technology. Succession planning proactively prepares organizations for management and C-level employee replacements. Research indicates a

Large companies that
scramble to find CEO
replacements forgo an
average of $1.8 billion in
shareholder value (Harrell).

failure to plan for CEO transitions and replacements can be costly. For example, large public companies that scramble to find replacements for departing CEOs forgo an average of $1.8 billion in shareholder value (Harrell, 2016).

Each year approximately 10 to 15% of corporations must appoint a new CEO, regardless of the executives’ reason for leaving the organization. In 2015, turnover among global CEOs hit a 15-year high and activist investors are increasingly forcing out underperforming leaders (Harrell, 2016).

Despite these turnover trends, many organizations are unprepared to replace their senior executives.

Additionally, research has shown the lack of viable internal candidates who could immediately replace C-level positions, as well as roles requiring specialized skills, can hamper the organizations success for months. However, with the right succession planning model in place, employees are given the chance to acquire the knowledge and training they need to progress in an organization. Additionally, companies reap the many benefits of creating an experience and culture that motivates, develops and retains its employees. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development states “succession planning is an important way to manage the delivery” of culture and experience, “complemented by management training and development activities and aligned with business needs.”

Regardless of size, virtually any organization can benefit from succession plans and workforce learning practices that mirror an evolving company structure. As the workforce shifts, new and old leaders have different training needs; therefore, building custom methodologies for training plays a vital role in its success. For example, two thirds of corporate training within an organization is using a learning management system (LMS) that is multimedia based to support these various training needs (Talent Management, n.d.).

Consider the following example of an effective succession plan and corporate strategy from Metro Bank. Metro Bank uses eLearning as part of their corporate strategy. They receive thousands of applications every year, but the main focus is talent management. Most employees start in entry level jobs and quickly move up in rank—some as quickly as teller manager within 18 months. Metro Bank explains succession planning is the key to success. They have an extensive library of eLearning courses and modules, available to all employees. A teller hoping to someday become bank manager can begin taking leadership courses that match that succession trajectory. Managers can choose employees matching specific roles and suggest eLearning courses to help make employees more marketable for management positions.

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