It’s your workplace culture and the opportunities that come with it which keep your talented people loyal to your organisation. Put workplace culture at the heart of your succession planning strategy.
The CIPD defines succession planning as “the process of identifying and growing talent to fill leadership and business business–critical positions in the future.” Fundamental to successful succession planning is having a pipeline of potential talent. Of course, not everyone will be right for promotion or leadership. Some will naturally exit the organisation. Some may have great value in non-leadership roles. But unless you can keep the early and mid-stage talent, maintain their motivation and engender their long-term loyalty, your pipeline will spring some very costly leaks, leaving you with little to choose from.
The quality of your workplace culture is key to retaining existing talent, and strengthening your potential talent pipeline. To achieve this, organisations should:
- Set out a clear pathway of progress.
- Develop the people who have organisation/job appropriate personality traits and skills potential.
- Give their people a workplace culture of strong leadership role models and healthy team relationships.
Set out a clear pathway of progress
Don’t keep your talent in the dark! Make sure that the people you want to retain know that you value their contribution. Be clear that there is a long-term future with your organisation for them. If promotion opportunities are not imminent, develop a plan to allow them to grow in other areas of the organisation. The experience they gain will deepen their understanding of your sector and enable them to forge strong relationships throughout the organisation.
Encourage your leaders at every level to communicate with those in your talent pool. Even short informal conversations around what people would like to achieve can inspire loyalty among more than 80% of middle managers. These conversations are an important part of the organisation’s succession planning strategy. They help to inform decision-makers and prevent small gripes snowballing into resignation-worthy issues.
Identify and develop the people with potential
Who in your organisation has the appropriate personality traits and skills-potential to drive success in the future? A clutch of A-levels and a university degree are no longer considered the strongest indicators of future success. Instead, use assessments which measure personality traits and power skills against agreed benchmarks to identify your potential strongest performers. These assessments can show an individual’s drive and their sociability, their emotional intelligence and their resilience, amongst other fixed traits and trainable skills.
This enables internal recruiters and managers to make sound succession planning decisions around potential high performers, and crucially what support/coaching they would benefit from as they progress. Investment in development inspires loyalty and commitment to the process, making them better people to work with and for. It helps to create a people-centred culture where positive behaviour is valued in equal measure with performance.
Give the gift of strong leadership role models and healthy team relationships
There comes a point where job security, salary and benefits are no longer enough to keep talented people in your organisation. If they are that good, they will find an alternative employer. However, a positive workplace culture goes a long way to retaining people, even if they don’t always love the job.
An empathetic manager who takes responsibility rather than diving for cover in challenging situations, can alter the course of a potential resignation. A happy team will inclusively embrace diversity, rather than give the cold shoulder to a new arrival. These workplace relationships are the glue which holds people together. They create fertile conditions in which your talent pool can grow and evolve. They encourage a speak up culture in which everyone can contribute their ideas and concerns. They could even create the conditions where faulty business-crippling decisions are averted.
Fair leadership and positive team relationships should be the norm, not a gift to be grateful for. Yet too, often, they are ignored, leading to toxic cultures which no one wants to be part of.
Work with Holst to make your organisation impossible to leave
Improving employee retention and optimising your succession planning strategy means keeping hold of your talented people for as long as possible. As bolting the office door isn’t an option, organisations need to make their workplaces impossible to leave, because they are so good. And a workplace is only as good as the people within it feel. Make your workplace culture worth hanging around for. Talk to us to find out how we help organisations of every size and sector do it.