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Succession planning and management guide

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Step 5. Evaluate effectiveness

In order to ensure that your organizations succession planning efforts are successful, it is important to systematically evaluate and monitor these activities and make adjustments as necessary. This section provides some questions for reflection, as well as examples of indicators that may be used to assess effectiveness.

What are some HR metrics for succession planning?

The following can be used to measure progress:

  • the number of vacant positions;
  • average days elapsed for each position vacancy;
  • the ratio of key positions for which no internal replacement can be found relative to the total number of key positions (otherwise known as bench strength);
  • average performance ratings of new employees in key positions;
  • turnover statistics within key areas (look at change over time);
  • the percentage of key positions that are filled internally;
  • dropout rates in accelerated development programs;
  • designated group representation among feeder groups and participation in accelerated development programs;
  • the number of complaints to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal under the PSEA;
  • questions from the Public Service Employee Survey that can be used as indicators of succession planning and management (e.g. the percentage of employees satisfied with promotion opportunities) and;
  • the People Component of the Management Accountability Framework, a guide to accountabilities for deputy heads and managers in HR management, that includes some indicators that could be used for succession planning (e.g. external hires as a percentage of total hires).

What other methods can be used to assess the effectiveness of succession planning initiatives?

In addition to outcome measures, it is also useful to measure and monitor the effectiveness of professional development and apprenticeship programs and other corporate initiatives such as satisfaction with development programs and progress on individual development plans.

Various methods can be employed to evaluate these initiatives, including the following:

  • Program logic models map the key activities or components of a program and how they link to short-, medium-, and long term objectives. They can be used as a basis for process- and outcome based evaluations.
  • Cost-benefit analysis is a technique used to quantify and compare the costs and benefits of a program. Costs may be direct (e.g. covering money spent on an assessment centre) or indirect (e.g. covering time spent away on training).
  • Surveys can be used to measure satisfaction with different aspects of your succession planning process or developmental program.

Managers checklist

  • Do all key positions have succession plans?
  • Are key positions filled quickly?
  • Do new employees in key positions perform effectively in their role?
  • Are there qualified employees who are ready to compete for key positions and areas?
  • Are designated group members adequately represented among feeder groups for key positions and areas? Do you review your succession plan following organization changes (e.g. changes in priorities, restructuring)?

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