Written by: Erica Finely
Most managers know that talented people are hard to find. If managers try to replace current employees, they often find that recruiting comparably qualified employees from outside the company may cost much more than keeping current employees.
Succession planning is about filling the organization’s talent pipeline and building internal bench strength. It is about leveraging the talent that the organization already possesses by developing it to full potential.
So how is it different from replacement planning, talent management and succession management?
Replacement planning is the process of identifying individuals within an organization, and often in the same division or department, who would be best-equipped to serve as backups for current employees. There are two kinds of replacement planning.
Short-term replacement planning addresses the problem of how to keep the work flowing — and the right decisions being made — even when key people are out sick or on vacation. Work cannot grind to a halt just because some people are temporarily away from their desks. Additionally, short-term replacement planning encourages cross-training so that temporary backups are prepared to fill in when necessary. Such cross-training is a means of worker development, too.
Long-term replacement planning addresses what to do when one or many key people are catastrophically lost due to death, retirement, surprise resignation, or long-term disability.
There is no doubt that replacement planning is an important part of a comprehensive risk management program. It is not enough to plan for the loss of data, finances, equipment or facilities. Organizational leaders must also plan for the loss of key people.