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Succession planning and management guide

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Steps and considerations

This section provides information so that your organization can incorporate activities for managing succession into your integrated HR and business planning process. There is not a “one-size approach” to succession planning-what works in one organization may not work in another, given different contexts and resourcing issues. Activities to plan and manage succession may evolve over time as organizations learn what works and what needs to be improved.

Respecting the key values of transparency, fairness, and accessibility

The approach your organization adopts for succession planning must operate alongside the core values of fairness, access, and transparency. These values are fundamental elements of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), which came into effect in December 2005. Within this context, it is important to ensure that:

  • the succession planning process is transparent and communicated to all employees;
  • assessments of candidates are made objectively and are free from personal favouritism;
  • employees who have expressed an interest in career advancement have a reasonable opportunity to be considered for future roles; and
  • appointments are based on merit. Click here or more information on the PSEA.

Succession planning and management ensures that those employees with an interest in and the potential for key positions and areas are provided with appropriate development opportunities so that they can acquire the necessary skills and competencies to compete for these roles when they become available. Succession planning does not entail guaranteed promotions. It is important that organizations carefully manage employee expectations to avoid these kinds of perceptions. Although the focus of succession planning and management is on key positions and key areas, development initiatives should occur alongside more broad-based learning initiatives. In other words, all employees should be encouraged to have learning plans and participate in learning and training opportunities to further their career development. But the analysis of key positions and target areas may suggest tailored developmental programs and activities to build competencies for certain areas.

The Five-step process

Five broad steps to successful succession planning are described in the following pages. The steps are as follows:

  1. Identify key areas and key positions
  2. Identify capabilities for key areas and positions
  3. Identify interested employees and assess them against capabilities
  4. Develop and implement succession and knowledge transfer plans
  5. Evaluate effectiveness

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