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Succession management - focus finder

If you are considering initiating a succession or talent strategy, this list may help you to identify the areas you need to focus on. Take a look at the list of benefits below, and identify no more than five that you think would be of most importance to your institution. This will give you an indication of priorities.

We do not expect that you will pick any benefits from the last category – but be honest. Are any of these lurking in the background in your organisation?

Once you have made your choices, click here to see what they say about the focus of your strategy.

Benefit Description
Substantive corporate benefits Influence organisational strategy Using intelligence from the talent pool to feed into strategic planning
Mitigate risk Having people ready to step into key roles if the current holders become unavailable
Increase diversity at the top, correct inequalities Actively setting out to ‘fast-track’ people from under-represented groups
Reinforce distinctiveness Identifying roles which make a difference to the organisation and which competitors do not have, to help the organisation put resources into maintaining what makes it different
Improve corporate governance Widening the conversation about what the organisation needs and how it will be identified and developed, thus improving its capacity for self-criticism and improvement
Provide more good candidates for senior roles Improving internal candidates’ capability to fill key roles and, by defining the roles more clearly, attracting good external candidates too
Increase interest in leadership roles Increasing the level of interest in roles such as heads of academic departments, which may be hard to fill because they are seen as unwelcome distractions
Improve performance levels in certain roles The organisation may have certain roles in which there is a wide variation between the top and bottom performers
Secondary corporate benefits Make the organisation an employer of choice Ensuring the organisation is seen by candidates and potential candidates as a good place to work
Improve retention Making sure people feel supported in their career development, so that they will be more likely to stay
Map learning and development to organisational needs Planning learning to achieve the competencies associated with the organisation’s succession needs
Benefits to individuals Improve transparency Providing clear data on what is needed for key posts and the extent to which individuals meet the requirements
Provide clear career direction Ensuring individuals can see how their current experience maps onto possible next steps, and what they need to do to improve their chances of achieving the next role they aspire to
Map learning and development to individual needs Planning learning to achieve individuals’ career or development goals
Support development Putting resources into individuals’ personal development
Ill-thought-through reasons Create corporate culture Using a succession or talent scheme primarily to communicate a message about how people are expected to behave
Create illusion of certainty – staving off fear of future Succession planning has sometimes been criticised for planning what cannot be planned, and for pretending that we can control the future
Punish enemies, reward friends Pursuing schemes that originate in a desire to perpetuate the existing senior management culture
Box-ticking Doing it because it is thought to be expected
Emulate competitors Initiating a scheme purely because other universities or local employers have one