Plan for the Future by Holding on to Top Talent

01.19.2011
HR & Safety

Current economic conditions make succession planning particularly important

When it comes to planning for the future of your business, holding on to your key employees is crucial.

“The question is how,” says Robert Lewis, vice president, Western Region, at APTmetrics in Darien. (APT, or Applied Psychological Techniques, helps business clients conduct job analyses and manage performance, professional development, and organizational change so that their HR profile is aligned with their company’s strategic goals.)

Lewis says retaining top talent and keeping employees engaged is not as difficult as you might think. The key, he explains, is building a culture of succession planning and development in your business. That way, people “feel a connection to the organization”_and see their long-term career progression clearly.”

His recommendations include

Articulating why succession planning is important to you and the company

Challenging everyone to find opportunities to learn, stretch, and add skills as part of their everyday work

Leveraging your performance management process to ensure managers are appraised on developing their people

Promoting from a healthy talent pool using transparent and valid selection procedures

An important part of succession planning is identifying key roles people can fill and how your employees can get the skills required to fill them.

“Succession planning is not replacement planning,” Lewis says. “[It] has a longer time horizon and has to consider where the business is going. If you can engage people in the organization in figuring that out, you are much better placed to plan the talent you need and get them in the right spot.”

No Time Like the Present

It’s especially important to take steps to engage your key employees now, while the economy slowly ramps up, says Gary Clarke, managing partner, The Career Co-op LLC in Westport.

“I think it’s critical for management teams, along with their HR partners, to really think about where their employees are now mentally,” Clarke says. “I think as the economy picks up, it’s [going to be] a race, and your better employees are going to be looking around. They are attractive to other companies because they have built great survival skills.”

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