2015: Succession Planning Will Be Crucial

Ben Casnocha, author and expert on talent mobility, identified as HR trendsetter

By Roy Maurer January 22, 2015

Companies need formal succession plans to be competitive in 2015, says Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte.

In “What’s in Store for HR in 2015?”, published in the January/February issue of HR Magazine, Bersin wrote that many organizations struggle to facilitate internal talent mobility. Fewer than one-third have formal succession plans for all but the very top levels, according to research conducted by Bersin by Deloitte and published in November 2014.

“When an employee leaves a company, we are forced to bring in someone else who starts at the bottom of the curve,” said Bersin. “This means we incur the cost of hiring, the loss of productivity and the diminished learning curve of the new employee. Yes, the new person may have excellent skills and perspective from the outside, but in many cases it will take years to realize those benefits.”

However, if HR facilitates internal talent mobility, people are constantly being developed and challenged and engagement goes up, he said. But it won’t be easy, Bersin added. Some tips he offered include:

  • Making sure that all posted positions are marketed internally and that employees are encouraged to apply for them by creating incentives.
  • Investing in onboarding and new-hire orientation.
  • Assigning career coaches to map patterns of movement and document career paths.

The feature identified Ben Casnocha, co-author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, and former chief of staff at LinkedIn as a trendsetter for being a thought leader on talent mobility trends. “We can’t restore the old model of lifetime employment, but we can build a new loyalty,” he said. “You must move from a transactional to a relational approach. Think of employment as a mutually beneficial deal, with explicit terms, between independent players.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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