Eliminating Gaps in Agency Leadership – Part IV: Succession Planning

In the first three parts of this series, we discussed how to identify leadership gapsaddress leadership gaps, and close leadership gaps within your organization. Next, we will examine how effective succession planning is essential to prevent mission-critical leadership gaps. Envision your future needs, pinpoint the competencies required to meet them, then identify and prepare your candidates in advance.

With nearly half of the Federal workforce being 50 years old or older, there is a massive wave of retirement that is just beginning. It is imperative that Federal Government agency leaders become masters of succession planning. Let’s look at what’s involved:

It’s All About the Mission

Every strategy and action plan for training, development, and recruitment should be mission-driven. Begin by ensuring that your overall workforce development plan – and within it, your succession plan – reflect the qualities needed to support your agency’s mission.

Evaluate Succession Risk

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) emphasizes the need to evaluate individual leadership candidates according to required competencies, bench strength, and recruitment challenges.

Review Your Talent Pool

Use one-on-one incumbent interviews and available assessment tools to evaluate the current readiness of identified internal and external candidates.

Devise A Plan

Develop a strategy and action plan that facilitates knowledge transfer from tenured employees to close gaps between candidate capabilities and projected future needs through recruitment, training, and development.

Implement Your Plan

As you put your plan into action, you may find it helpful to establish a mentorship program. A tenured employee who mentors a rising leader will provide motivation, challenge, and context while transferring a wealth of knowledge.

Remain Flexible

Any plan that built on predictions of future circumstances is likely to require adjustments. Be sure that your plan allows for pivots along the way. Your process should remain intact, but some of the specific details are likely to be reworked over time.

Measure Progress

As you set your plan in motion, and candidates are identified, assessed, trained and mentored, be sure to measure the success of your program. Share the details of your achievements and challenges across your organization to increase the benefit of your experience.

Are You Ready?

With the wave of employees who are becoming eligible for retirement each month, Federal agencies need to act now. Here are a few resources that can help you prepare:

Management Concepts has been serving the needs of government for more than 45 years. As workforce needs change, we provide education and services that help organizations address those needs. In addition to an accredited one-day Succession Planning Workshopour professional consultants are here to help organizations like yours assess, plan, implement and evaluate your workforce development needs.

Human Capital & Human Resources
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Natalie Komitsky

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