Contemporary Challenges in Succession Management

Contemporary Challenges in Succession Management

Key learning points:

  1. Succession management should be approached in a systemic manner;
  2. Succession management does not necessarily involve moving along an organisational hierarchy;
  3. Employees may stagnate when managers fail to plan for the succession of their subordinates.

 

Due to flatter organisational hierarchies and contemporary psychological contracts the traditional “chain of command” succession style has been made redundant. Successful talent management and more specifically succession management is therefore becoming increasingly important. Succession management involves broadening capabilities through horizontal and vertical moves within an organisation. The importance of this is frequently overlooked as companies will often compensate by recruiting externally, resulting in top employees being targeted by larger firms for their skills and competencies while current employees stagnate in their present positions. Both organisations and employees fall victim to ineffective succession management and both parties suffer the consequences.

Succession management should be a systematic approach where the aim is to identify, develop and plan talented employees for key positions in the company. There are many challenges that succession management faces including organisational hierarchies, psychological deterrents, ineffective reward systems and costs incurred during the succession management process. Although many managers acknowledge that succession management is an important aspect of leadership, few of them actively plan for succession. Since developing a succession plan forces managers to face “letting go” of their power as well as acknowledging their destiny, designing succession plans are often resisted. Even when managers succeed in conquering their fears they still face challenges in designing and implementing succession plans. Despite these challenges, systems that reward the designing, implementing and maintaining of succession plans can prove to be beneficial to the process of succession planning. However, even when a succession plan is well considered and implemented there are still further concerns. Hiring a new employee might raise the costs to such an extent that it becomes discouraging to organisations. Managers are required to consider these costs in addition to other resources that they have to spend when investigating in possible employees who might have “unproven” talent. Should a manager decide to move an employee to a different position in an attempt to develop that employee, the manager is likely to pass up the opportunity to introduce new knowledge into the company.

Whether managers decide to recruit internally or externally, assessment tools should be used to assist. Online profiling solutions that help to augment the job and person-culture fit within an organisation can assist in developing coaching interventions for managers and executives. These profiling solutions provide information regarding competency potential, culture fit, leadership, team types as well as entrepreneurial potential. This allows for insight into a leader’s potential and enables managers to prioritise areas where change and succession planning is required.

Meaningful Performance Management

Meaningful Performance Management

Key Learning Points:

  1. Managing employee performance is critical to the sustainability of organisations;
  2. Generic performance ratings prove ineffective and result in demotivated employees;
  3. Utilising the correct tools can provide meaningful information that motivate and develop employees.

 

Organisations have had to adapt to a fast-paced changing environment by reengineering, restructuring, changing their focus or location of their production, or downsizing to remain competitive. Each of the possible activities employed by organisations to adapt to the changing environment has led to a number of significant changes in the way that work is organised. Employees need to deal with technological advances and the increased rate of change, while managing information and being sensitive to diversity within the workplace. Amidst all these changes, employees are required to learn faster and to deliver outputs of a high quality at a quicker rate. Employees are also required to perform to their potential in order for organisations to stay competitive in the market place. A management process with a specific focus on ensuring that employees perform optimally and that employees’ performance is aligned with the strategy of the organisation, is often a large contributor to the sustainability of the organisation.

Performance management is concerned with the management of employees’ performance in order to align employees’ performance with the organisation’s goals. It is important that the design of the performance management system meets the following two requirements in order to be effective:

  1. Produces a clear understanding of what performance is expected from an individual; and
  2. Effectively measures whether the individual accomplished what was expected.

There are many detailed features that make a performance management system effective, some of which include objective measures, ongoing feedback on performance, and input from employees on the system such that they are part of the process. In addition, an effective performance management system has to ensure that the ratings given to employees are meaningful3. Perhaps, this may be one of the most challenging aspects of performance management. Organisations aim to differentiate high from low performers but often this process can leave employees feeling demotivated. This can especially be the case in the instance where employees are ranked from best performer to worst performer. Even in an instance where developmental guidelines are given for the improvement of performance, employees may still feel demotivated as these guidelines may be so generic that employees may feel lost between what is expected of them and their current behaviour.

Our assessment tools enable individuals to understand what their unique strengths are, as well as what their potential performance could be. The performance feedback tools allows individuals to rate themselves, and to be rated by their peers, colleagues, subordinates, clients and management on their actual performance. Individuals may then make a comparison between their potential performance and their actual performance in order to gain relevant insights into their unique developmental areas. When relating these unique development areas to the individual’s key performance areas, the individual may gain further insight as to what specific behaviours need to be changed or optimised. Using our comprehensive assessment toolkit helps to ensure that performance appraisals are more meaningful for employees, and provide employees with more specific information on how to develop or to enhance behaviours to improve their performance.

 

Selection and Business Success

Selection and Business Success

Key Learning Points:

  1. Organisations need highly adaptable employees;
  2. Retention is a key success factor in selection processes;
  3. Highly valid and reliable tools enhance organisations’ performance.

 

Employees are key to business success. An organisation’s performance is directly related to the quality of its employees. Selection decisions impact directly on organisational success. Effective selection practices consist of evaluating individuals against set criteria, comparing individuals to the criterion; and selecting individuals who are best suited for a particular position.

Creating a workforce with high adaptability requires a shift in focus from a job-based to a competency-based approach as a more competency-focused approach could be a turning-point to allow an organisation to be more flexible and adaptable in times of rapid change. While a job-based approach focuses mainly on job descriptions, a competency-based approach focuses on person-descriptions. By selecting an employee through the use of a job-based approach, an individual will be selected based on ability to perform those responsibilities unique to a specific position. By making use of a competency-based approach for selection, an individual will be selected based on existing competencies as well as the ability to learn the types of skills needed by the organisation.

Employees in the twenty-first century spend less time with individual employers than in the past and may be less committed. Selection costs may seem prohibitive in certain instances and organisations need to incorporate plans for retention as early as the selection process. A major cause for employee turnover is poor chemistry or bad fit. It is therefore important for organisations to not only choose a candidate who possesses the required skills, but also a candidate whose attitude, personality and behaviours fit within the culture of the organisation.

In order to be able to select an individual who will be the best fit for the position, it is crucial that the selection methods used have both high reliability and predictive validity. While, a reliable method will have the same outcome when repeated after a period of time, a method of high predictive validity will successfully predict the individual’s performance in real life situations.

By taking these contemporary challenges into consideration, it is clear that successful selection processes should be valid and reliable, measure an individual’s job-fit by comparing individual competencies with the competencies critical for success in the position; and measure individual-organisation fit by comparing the attitude, personality characteristics and behaviours of the individual with those of the organisation.

Our tools meet the above requirements and were developed by making use of a performance driven, validation-centric strategy which means that the best predictors of criteria were included in our questionnaires. The job profiler is a questionnaire designed to determine the competencies specific to a position and when it comes to selection it can be used to determine the set of competencies (criteria) against which individuals should be compared. The assessments were designed to describe individual differences in terms of motives, talents, preferred culture and competency potential. In addition, the ability assessments were designed to further measure an individual’s cognitive ability. By employing these tools during selection, an organisation can better predict performance, proficiency, promotability and potential. Fit for purpose leads to better performance enhanced engagement.

Topical Talent Development

Topical Talent Development

Key Learning Points:

  1. Employees, their knowledge, skills and abilities are crucial to organisational success;
  2. The pressure for organisational success is beginning to raise concerns with regards to talent management practices;
  3. Organisations need to build and enhance the art of development in order to foster talent within organisations.

 

Systems, processes and technologies are no longer the differentiators for organisations, but now employees encompass the main focus. Employees’, their knowledge, skills and behaviours, are becoming the attributes that are setting companies apart from one another. The development of employee’s capabilities is fast becoming the key to success and competitive advantage. Thus, employee development, in its own right, is a necessary organisational component used to improve quality, meet challenges, develop new products and services as well as capitalise on the strengths of a diverse workforce. In a general sense, employee development involves courses, seminars, workshops and assignments that influence the short-term personal and professional growth of individuals, however, more specifically, employee development is important for long-term personal effectiveness that ultimately contributes to an organisation’s ability to remain competitive2. Therefore, the development of employees should focus on the amplifying of individual talents in order to enhance and sustain organisational performance.

For decades, organisations have developed employee capabilities through traditional practices such as succession planning, mentoring, coaching and training. However, the pressure for improved organisational performance is beginning to raise concerns with regards to the talent management practices of the past. It has been suggested that with rapid changes in technology and job design, along with globalisation and the increased importance of learning and knowledge based organisations, companies are finding it more difficult to muster the talent they require in order to reach organisational goals.

With the issues such as an increase in competition, shifting markets and unforeseen events, it is no wonder that organisations are finding it more difficult to attract, develop and retain the skilled workers that they require. However, in the midst of such challenges, effective talent development becomes an even more important issue to consider for organisational success. Organisations need to build and enhance the art of development in order to foster talent within organisations. To ensure this, organisations should view employee development through the eyes of a talent manager and should become familiar with asking questions, such as: “Do we have the capability to do what is asked of us? What talents do we need to improve on or acquire?”; and “How will we further develop those talents?”

It is however important to identify the developmental needs vital to employees and organisations and how such development needs can be improved on and measured in order to enhance overall organisational performance. Through the use of psychometric assessments and other products, we have the ability to assist employees and organisations in identifying their development needs. Our personality and ability assessments not only enable individuals to find out more about their strengths and developmental areas, but organisations are provided with objective information on employees preferred talents and areas for improvement. We offer individual and group feedback, evaluation and developmental toolkits options to further assist in employee development.

Contemporary Career Planning

Contemporary Career Planning

Key Learning Points:

  1. The business environment is ever-changing;
  2. Individual-organisational collaboration during the career planning process proves essential to ensure mutual benefit;
  3. The key to successful career planning involves extensive self-assessment and self-exploration.

 

The current business environment is influenced by various factors of which the most influential factors can be seen as the economy, technology and perhaps society itself. This results in the current business environment being characterised as turbulent and complex with ambiguous and contradictory career signals being sent to new and existing employees. Moreover, careers are being characterised as boundaryless, where individuals reinvent their careers based on their personal changes and the changes occurring in the external environment. In essence, the current, fast-changing, business environment impacts on the management of people at work, as well as the planning and managing of individuals’ careers.

Career planning used to be understood as a life-long process starting at choosing an occupation, followed by getting a job, growing in the current job, changing careers, and retiring. Previously career planning only occurred once, whereas in the new world of work it is more likely that this might happen several times as individuals first define and then redefine themselves and their career goals. The career planning process involves certain steps, including individuals getting to know themselves, getting to know the market and industry, and representing themselves in the correct manner. The first step within this process is seen as the most important as it requires individuals to conduct a self-assessment, moreover, explore their own interests, values, skills or aptitudes, preferred environments or cultures, development needs, and personality. These are essential as it can have an impact on individuals financially, psychologically, physically, and emotionally.

The challenges emerging from these fast-changing environments have implications on an organisational, managerial, and individual level. Organisations have to shift from offering careers of secure employment to individuals, to creating opportunities in which individuals can be developed. In addition, managers have to broaden individuals’ careers by investing in them, and developing a variety of multidirectional career paths based on the flexibility of individuals and offering alternative career arrangements. From the employees’ perspective, career planning involves moving away from the traditional commitment to the organisation and moving to multiple, conditional commitments to various organisations. This may result in a true, open partnership between individuals and organisations that is based on a support system taking into account the wider context of careers and the multi-directionality of individuals’ careers.

In order to conquer the challenges mentioned above, it is necessary to provide individuals with an assessment with which they can get to know themselves in order to make the correct career choices. It is also necessary to provide individuals with a person-culture fit indicating to individuals their preferred cultures, in which they will be most effective. Lastly, it is important to assess individuals’ abilities in order to identify the jobs they will most likely be successful in. From a career planning perspective, we can assist in individuals getting to know themselves and making the correct career choices in order to be employable and have a flourishing career.

Page 1 of 212