Talent Mapping – The Recipe for Today’s Succession Planning

“Succession Planning” is a term that seems outdated – a process-laden, long-range staffing plan for a large organization.  A more apt name would be “Talent Mapping” – a streamlined version of identifying qualified and inspired employees to fill future positions as and when they are needed.

Businesses of all sizes and types are susceptible to sudden vacancies of key positions.  What restaurant can afford to lose its top chef? Who will take on key client accounts when a high-performing salesperson retires? How will the family business continue if family members no longer want to run it? Will the non-profit mission be carried forward under new leadership?

Even when internal candidates can fill key vacancies, a domino effect cascades down the line leaving positions open. Talent Mapping supports “key position replacement strategies,” combining several human resource tools to survey and map out organizational change and improve the chances of moving in the right direction when vacancies occur.

Simplified, here is The Recipe:

  • One part staff profiles and skill sets plus career interests
  • Add turnover and attrition rate, include expected vacancies
  • Mix into succession planning software, HRIS or excel database
  • Turn out a matrix that points to a logical plan to fill future positions

WARNING: Don’t forget to engage HR Director in the overall process or you could get burned!

Tips to Ensure a Recipe for Success:

Include Talent Mapping and Career Development in strategic planning initiatives.

Inform HR Director as soon as possible about known or anticipated vacancies so that internal candidates can be identified, cross-trained or developed. HR can confidentiality and discreetly explore candidate possibilities and support important staffing transitions.

Create or update position descriptions for key and top-level personnel, a step often overlooked by companies. Even small family businesses will benefit by having these emergency game plans in place.

Encourage staff and managers to keep resumes updated, and identify a repository for collecting information to quickly access internal candidates.

Consider outsourcing executive recruitment to maximize the best candidate pool, minimize hiring timeframe, and objectively review internal candidates.