It's 2016 and here's what we know about succession planning:
- Because of the workforce demographics organizations are facing, there has never been a time in history when effective succession planning has been more important to success.
- No one has really figured out how to do succession planning really well, primarily because effective succession planning costs money. While many organizations would like free succession planning, there's no free lunch, and no effective succession planning program is free.
- In most organizations, Human Resources owns succession planning.
Who should own succession planning?
I think HR wants to own succession planning because they know it's super important. Strategically, if they could figure it out, it would be a huge win for HR departments everywhere. The problem is, succession planning is about talent. And talent isn't an HR thing, it's a talent acquisition thing!
Don't get me wrong, I love HR. HR has a ton of important jobs to do in an organization. I just don't believe that succession planning is one of those things. Here's why:
5 reasons why talent acquisition and succession planning belong together
1. Talent Acquisition is solely focused on how to increase the talent in your organization.
If you've set up your talent acquisition team to be a strategic advantage in your organization, and you've staffed it with the right minds, you need to let these people do what you hired them to do.
You hired them to increase the talent in your organization, which means they "own" the staffing plan. Part of that plan includes how you're moving forward with succession planning.
Talent acquisition and succession planning have a huge and related impact on your organization.
2. Talent Acquisition has the technology capability to pull off succession planning.
In most organizations the talent acquisition team is more forward thinking when it comes to using technology to get their job done. Both talent acquisition and succession planning need strong technology to move forward, and technology champions to make them work. Talent acquisition pros are the people technology champions in almost every organization on the planet.
3. Talent Acquisition knows your talent end-to-end.
Talent Acquisition is the one group you have that cares about talent at every level, across your organization, and at every stage. Why? Every change, every termination, every retirement impact your talent acquisition team. You lose one person in Accounting, and Operations doesn't care. Talent Acquisition cares. Talent Acquisition cares because they have to help you find a replacement. They're the only team in your organization that has an end-to-end responsibility for talent.
4. Talent Acquisition isn't hindered by politics and relationships.
Talent Acquisition doesn't care that Mandy is the boss' favorite in sales. All they care about is whether or not Mandy is doing the job, or can do the next job. Because if Mary is better, your talent acquisition pros are going to want the most talented person in the position. They'll call out the B.S. Doing that is difficult for HR because they have the relationships with hiring managers, and need to preserve them. That means they usually play the game. Your talent acquisition folks don't have to play the game.
5. Talent Acquisition has the capacity and motivation to make succession planning work.
Your talent acquisition group has the capacity to take on succession planning because having this under their responsibility actually makes their job easier. Having the full, end-to-end ownership of talent lets them run a more efficient process and shop. Bringing them in to fight fires is not efficient.
Succession planning fails because HR really wants nothing to do with it. It's a project for them. For talent acquisition pros, effective succession planning is what they do!
So now, who do you think should own succession planning?