How to run succession planning in Human Resources?
The succession planning is one of the most strategic HR Processes. Human Resources manages the process and ensures the organization has enough talents acting as successors to current leaders, line managers, and key know-how holders. HR makes sure that the know-how of the business is not concentrated in few critical resources that would put the company at a risk. However, HR always forgets to run a proper succession planning procedure in Human Resources. Finding right successors in HR is always a tough task. You can also see more about succession planning goals and objectives.
Human Resources has a serious issue with the succession planning procedure. The team is usually small, each team member has different responsibilities and the required set of skills and competencies is significantly different. The job roles in HR are very diverse, and employees are highly specialized. In addition, most decision-making power lays with HR Business Partners and Heads of HR Centers of Excellence. In such circumstances, the succession planning is a challenging chess game.
HR has to solve the following issues in the succession plan:
- HR Front Office and HR Centers of Excellence require different skill sets;
- HR Centers of Excellence require different functional expertise;
- HR Managers do not delegate decision-making to team members;
- HR Managers are not willing to change the area of the expertise.
The HR Model by David Ulrich is an excellent model for Human Resources. It clearly divided roles and responsibilities into Human Resources using the same approach as the service company uses. It has a clearly defined front office responsible for the clients and the back office including centers of excellence responsible for products and services. However, it makes the succession planning in HR far more complex.
HR has to set clear rules for managers and employees. Otherwise everyone will live in a comfort zone, running just processes and procedures he or she knows. On the other hand, the succession planning is about placing employees into new roles. It pushes people out of the comfort zone. HR has to set clear internal rules to make the operation of HR services sustainable and predictable.
The precise rules should be:
- Each HR Business Partner has to be a co-leader of one HR Center of Excellence;
- Each HR Center of Excellence Manager has to develop business partnering skills;
- Most decisions have to be delegated to HR specialists and analysts;
- Business Acumen Training is a must for everyone in HR;
- Each HR employee has to be assigned to the deputy from a different HR department;
- Internal talents from other department have to be included;
- External talents are welcome.
Human Resources is always a small business function. It cannot afford to have highly specialized successors. It will always lose some know-how and comfort when the skilled and highly experienced employee leaves the company. On the other hand, Human Resources can set procedures in succession planning that minimize such losses to an acceptable level.
Additionally, HR should be an angel of cross-functional rotations in the organization. Talents from other functions should be hired to Human Resources. They can improve many HR processes, and they can return to the original business department. Most people are friends of HR when they spend some time in the department. They clearly see that HR people are not devils. They just see how difficult the job of HR is.