Compiled by: Divya Nambiar

We, as a group try to identify the current L&D challenges in our weekly MANTHAN. We discuss and share to understand how we can bridge the gaps and work through the current organizational scenario.

The Topic of discussion in our weekly MANTHAN session was:

“Are organizations doing a good job with Succession planning? Are they investing enough time and effort in succession planning for the niche roles? What are the current challenges? How can it be done in an effective way? What are the new trends?”

The discussion began with the group sharing the importance and challenges of succession planning in organization(s).

Succession planning needs to be an integral part of talent review process. The advantages of succession planning include: strategic resourcing, defined roadmap, overall employee development, better workforce management, etc.

The challenges in having a robust succession planning framework as per the majority of the group are: insecurity of leaders in creating successors, ill-defined roles, business deliverables, and its considered to be a time-consuming activity.

Few points highlighted during the discussion were:

  • Leaders should focus on creating more leaders without any insecurity or fear. There needs to be a bond of trust. An interesting question shared was “How many successors would want to be like their leaders/boss?” For which one of the member said that – succession planning should concentrate on creating an effective successor but styles can vary of each leader. The shared vision and core values need to be same. The successor needs to be groomed to be able to handle the situations and get a feel of being in the role.
  • Succession planning should vary from performance or ratings. The identified resources should be given opportunities to handle the role & be able to understand the role holistically
  • Mapping every role in the organization, and asking them to build a successor with a defined roadmap will surely help organizations. This has to be followed with regular review process. This would help in a lot more focused hiring.
  • Succession planning should be aligned with the strategic growth plan of the organization. It was also noted that organizational values play a major role in the success of the framework.
  • A manager should not be measured on single dimension of Topline and growth but also sustainability and organizational growth.
  • One of the members shared the opinion on EQ of leaders. The member says that most CEO’s where most of them are found to be egoistic and are only result oriented. And because of the lack of EQ of the leaders, they end up losing talented middle management resources

The discussion moved to the next question: “What role L&D practitioners can play with regard to succession planning beyond the traditional role of training the successor for the future role?”

Below are the consolidated points that were discussed:

  • Design a framework which is relevant and aligned with a business/organizational growth
  • Mapping competencies of the roles for succession
  • Creating a Learning Environment to support continuous knowledge sharing
  • Understand the current level of skill/competencies and support through training and coaching
  • Training and Evaluation process along with regular feedback to the identified resources to be focused and transparent
  • Strong partnership between Leaning & Development team and Talent Management team
  • L&D to take ownership and contribute to the upskilling of the successors apart from classroom Training as well.

Conclusion: Succession planning is an important factor for organizational growth as it helps in identifying and creating future leaders. It’s difficult to define success parameters of the program and hence there is an air of ambiguity in adapting the framework by all stakeholders. The framework needs to be aligned to the business or organizational goals to ensure that there is participation in this program from all internal/external stakeholders. As Learning and Development group, apart from taking ownership of the program, it’s important that we partner closely with the Talent Management team to have a framework is simple and well-aligned to suit the organizational structure.