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No Employee is indispensable: Read here why this is true

Editorial Team
18/06/2020 1:59 PM

A study we did a few
years ago in Zimbabwe showed that less than 10% of Zimbabwean organisations
have a formal succession plan in place. This trend is worrying given that
corporate boards need to ensure business continuity in case of any
eventualities. Why is there such low compliance with the development of
succession plans in Zimbabwe?

We noted that this
trend is not only in the corporate world but also in politics. When there is no
formal succession plan in place, the takeover of key roles in cases where incumbents
leave the organisation for whatever reason sometimes can be chaotic. This is
why every board need to ensure that the organisation has a formal succession
plan that is monitored periodically by the Board.

How can businesses
ensure that there are formal succession plans for executives and all other
mission-critical roles within the organisation?

  1. Start
    with a formal succession plan policy. This policy needs to detail why
    succession planning is important for the organisation. It should cover what roles
    will be targeted for succession planning and why. The roles to be covered must
    all be mission-critical roles (MCR). The more important part is how the successor
    will be identified and developed. If the process of identifying successors and
    developing them is done haphazardly, the results will not benefit the
    organisation. Key points to take note here, are that the process of identifying
    successors should be done on merit and should never be a preserve of one
    individuals or a select group of people. The process must be extremely
    transparent to maintain the credibility of the process. The first stage is for
    the organisation to spell out through a  scientifically-driven competency model, what
    the requirements are for each target role. Use psychometric tests and
    assessments centres to select the candidates and also identify development gaps
    the targets candidates may have.
  2. No
    one is indispensable – Most organisations make the mistake of creating certain
    individuals as indispensable. Successful organisations across the globe make it
    clear to all employees regardless of the level that they are dispensable. Once
    this message is made clear, no employee will then hold the organisation to
    ransom especially when they get new opportunities outside the organisation. It
    is a bad policy for an organisation to counter offer employees. If you have
    been developing your staff with succession planning in mind, you would never
    need to counter offer employees leaving your organisation.
  3. Put
    all people occupying key roles on fixed-term contracts- When you put
    individuals who occupy key roles on contract, you are sending a message that no
    one is going to be here forever. This will force your organisation to develop
    skills internally to take over such roles. It also helps in putting the
    individuals occupying such roles in the right frame of mind as they will be
    aware that they will have to leave when their term is up.
  4. Get
    into the habit of terminating good employees when their term is up. There has
    been a serious debate on the tenure of executive roles. The reason why this
    debate is here is that people have overstayed in roles. It should never have
    gotten to this situation where people have to be asked to leave through fixed-term
    contracts. Every employee needs to know that its good for them to not exceed 10
    years with one employer if they want to build a solid career. What has
    constrained some well-meaning individuals not to leave sometimes has been the
    tight job market where not many job opportunities exist.
  5. It
    is important to screen at entry-  Get
    into the habit of getting good people at entry. Do not bank on developing the
    individuals once they are in the organisation. Many organisations have wasted
    resources trying to develop people who have no capacity for roles. You save
    money by selecting the right people at entry. Never bank on developing them,
    because most of them cannot change.
  6. Create
    competition for roles for internal candidates. Your organisation will flourish
    once employees know that they have an equal chance to progress within the
    organisation. If roles are occupied based on nepotism and other forms of
    corruption, good people will never show up even in cases where they are
    available internally.
  7. Terminate
    poor performers – Successful organisations take a very hard stance against poor
    performers. Yes, it is good to give them a chance but do not take too long to
    get rid of non-performers. They will cost you money and other resources and you
    may never be able to recover such resources.
  8. Force
    senior executives to go on leave periodically to allow their immediate
    subordinates an opportunity to act in their role. That will motivate
    subordinates to develop themselves and look forward to a day they can take over
    once they reach the right level of competency.

If you
follow some of the points here, you should be able to develop a sustainable
succession plan policy for your business. That will ensure business continuity
at all times.

Memory Nguwi is an
Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant-
Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources
consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 4
481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +263 77 2356 361 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our
website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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