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Posted by on May 23, 2016

Do You Have What You Need for Succession Planning?

Do You Have What You Need for Succession Planning?

succession planning31 percent of Federal employees will be eligible to retire by 2017. Succession planning is complex, though, and retirement is only part of the picture. Attrition comes from turnover, retirement, promotions, lateral movement, and any number of triggers that shape your workforce.

To approach succession planning, here are some tools you need at hand in your organization:

Workforce Plan
A good workforce plan works in concert with your organization’s strategic plan. The strategic plan outlines the organization’s plan for growth, and the workforce plan outlines new capabilities needed and decline in demand for other capabilities.

It’s critical to look on the horizon at pending legislation that can influence your workforce plan. The Senate recently passed a bill that would require new positions and functions in program management and performance standards. This could affect agencies’ staffing and skills gaps in addition to their work processes.

Individual Development Plan Data
Succession planning is critical for leadership positions, but it’s important to succession plan for technical positions, too. Too much transition out of technical roles—whether laterally into a different technical capacity or into a management or leadership capacity—can leave technical skill gaps that are costly and inefficient. Know where employees are tracking for their next role and plan for succession at every level in the organization.

Retirement Data
Know how much of your staff is eligible, and make the data as granular as you need it: some teams and organizations will have higher retirement eligibility than others, so know what’s specific to your team so you’re approaching succession management informed.

Note that retirement-eligible does not necessarily mean that employees are guaranteed to retire—depending on their classification and status. Policy changes that incentivize or disincentivize retirement create shifts in how your workforce plans for retirement. If the Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act passes, agencies with GS-0083 employees may see higher retirement rates earlier than planned. Similarly, economic conditions may influence retirement-eligible employees’ decisions to stay if retirement is not required.

Training Needs Data
Use your organization’s competency map to highlight the top training needs for your team or organization. Management and HR should collaborate so that managers have input on their functional area’s needs, and HR can support needs strategically across the organization. For some agencies, training needs are critical at a technical level if you have a large workforce; others may want to focus on training needs that support an integrated leadership development approach.

Whether in response to increased retirement rates or as part of consistent turnover, succession planning is an important process for HR and management to invest in. An effective succession planning process enables efficient hiring and employee development—making human capital management more cost-effective for the organization—and should be on every agency’s process improvement list.


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