Strategic Succession Planning: one approach to the ‘retirement wave’?

Who can really foresee the effects of the coming talent drain on government operations as baby boomers reach retirement? Some see it as a looming disaster; others as an alarmist overstatement of the actual threat it represents.

Few disagree, however, that agencies and departments should prepare themselves for an upward trend in retiring employees. And because soon-to-be-eligible employees tend to cluster in the senior ranks, shouldn’t agencies focus strategically on developing their in-house talent to handle increasing responsibility and leadership? Succession planning can help keep operations running smoothly even as the effects of accelerating retirements begin to be felt.

We want to share a useful succession planning checklist that we’ve adapted loosely from an article in the June Harvard Business Review (Douglas A. Ready and Jay A. Conger: “Make Your Company a Talent Factory”). You may find it helpful as you prepare your own agency or department for tomorrow.

An agency can assess the results of its succession program by assess the degree to which it:
o Knows what skills it needs to fulfill its mission in the next two years? In the next five years?
o Has an established process for identifying and developing its next generation of leaders?
o Holds managers accountable for identifying and developing talent in their units?
o Creates concrete development plans for managers who demonstrate high potential for leadership advancement?
o Maintains an enthusiastic pool of leaders who can move directly into senior executive roles?
o Regularly demonstrates (to its own workforce and interested government and public audiences) a full commitment to developing new leaders?

This article includes several more items on its list and offers many more valuable insights that might be adapted for government practice. We suggest you take a look.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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