One of the most debated subjects in human resources these days is whether or not to tell employees they’re a part of the succession plan. There are certainly pros and cons to consider. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently ran a point/counterpoint on the subject. It’s an interesting read and you can check it out here.
It’s no secret that I happen to be in the “yes, you should tell employees they’re a part of the succession plan” camp. I’ve written before about it here. But the SHRM piece raised a great point about what happens if you choose to tell employees they’re a part of the succession plan.
Succession planning is just that…planning. And plans change regularly. For the same reason you should tell employees they’re a part of the succession plan, a company should review and update their plan on a regular basis.
A couple of the reasons that I believe employees should be told they’re a part of the succession plan are:
- Employees need to buy-into being a part of the plan. What if they don’t want to be a part of the plan? It could happen. It doesn’t make good business sense to develop a career plan that the employee doesn’t want to pursue.
- Employees need to be accountable for their future. Just because an employee is part of the plan doesn’t mean they can’t be taken out of the plan. Employees need to be accountable for achieving their career goals if they want to stay in the succession plan.
I understand the apprehension of telling an employee they’re part of the succession plan and then the disappointment of telling them they’re not. But weigh that against not telling the employee and having them resign for a position with another company with more opportunity.
If you’re still reluctant to tell employees they’re part of the plan, one alternative to consider is talent pools. This might be the best of both worlds. Employees know they’re being groomed for future opportunities but the specifics haven’t been identified yet.
Being a part of the company’s succession plan isn’t an entitlement. It’s an honor that you earn with work and dedication. And once you know you’re a part of the plan, trust me – you have to work hard every single day to make sure you stay a part of the plan.
Oh, and P.S. If you’ve been staring at today’s images and thinking “I know that guy.” Yep, it’s actor Vince Vaughn. His latest movie, “Unfinished Business”, comes out tomorrow and as part of the promotion, he and the film’s co-stars created a few cheesy stock photos. I couldn’t resist!3