COVID-19 Threatening your Business Continuity? Try Succession and Development to Promote Internal Mobility.

opened brown door
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

With so many jobs lost, we all need to hunker down and concentrate on keeping our current jobs until things get better right? Nothing could be further from the truth!

Realizing the Need

Just last week, I had a call with a customer who wanted to re-examine their Succession Management process. They had the system set up. They didn’t really use it. Then COVID hit. Like many companies, the organization underwent a lot of changes and left a lot of resource gaps. Now they are realizing they could have been better prepared and are looking to quickly ramp back up their succession process. They are not alone.

Throughout this year, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on HR.com‘s advisory board for Internal Mobility, Succession, and Career Development. The organization just recently published the results of the cross-industry study we board members helped create. From what I see, the survey results are consistent with what I am seeing in the example I described above. Let’s take a closer look at the facts!

First off, most organizations recognize they don’t have an effective succession management and/or planning process in place. In addition to only 40% of companies agreeing or strongly agreeing that their process is effective as shown below, another survey question revealed that only 26% have a succession management system in place.

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

Furthermore, the survey also found that only about 1 in 5 companies have considerable job mobility within the organization.

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

At the same time, companies realize that business continuity (e.g. keeping the lights on!) is the most important reason to promote succession management and internal mobility.

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

Recognizing The Gap

So let’s get this straight, companies recognize that Succession and Internal Mobility are important, but they don’t currently have good systems and processes in place to support them. So why don’t more companies get their Succession Management systems and processes up and running? The problem is, most organizations don’t consider Succession Management important to the organization.

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

The gap here is that the process really is important for the reasons these companies have already realize and just not acted up (remember what we said about keeping the lights on?). And many companies right now are starting to realize this the hard way during COVID as employees leave both voluntarily and involuntarily and large resource gaps are being felt because of this process gap. I can only attribute this trend to “perception” since the facts point to a real need here. I think it is time to end this perception!

Is It Worth The Investment?

If I invest in a Succession and Development Management strategy, is it really going to work? The answer is “Yes!” The survey found overwhelmingly that those organizations who are internal mobility leaders, it is easier for employees to move to new positions. Making it easy for employees to move from one position to another makes it easier to fill critical roles with people your organization already knows and trusts rather than going through the expense and risk of recruiting externally (which many companies are still unable to do at all at the moment with some still experiencing hiring freezes).

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

OK, I get it, I need Succession and Internal Mobility! How do I get started?

There’s a ton of ways! We’ve talked a lot about Succession Management – which involves tagging which roles are critical to the organization and identifying how to fill those roles. This can help you define who to develop and what they need to develop. But of course, that means investing in employee development itself! Not surprisingly, the survey found a similar trend here. Almost half of companies reported they did not have a development process or program!

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

What’s more frightening, is that during the Pandemic, when the concentration should be on developing the fewer employees many companies are trying to make more effective, the opposite seems to be happening. 47% of companies saw decreases in employee development.

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

At the same time, employee demand for development opportunities has increased! 75% of companies saw that employees are looking for development opportunities!

Source: HR.com’s Internal Mobility Webinar Nov 5, 2020

Once again, there is a huge disconnect which helps explain further why many company strategies are out of alignment with the needs. Only once employees are able to develop their skills and competencies in order to meet the needs of critical roles will they will be ready to start filling those critical roles.

There are a lot of specific strategies companies are using the promote internal mobility and fill their succession management strategies. To find out more information about the different approaches companies are taking to implement their Succession and Development Strategies, you can download the full survey at HR.com or contact info@worklogix.com to talk more about your strategy!

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