Will your next CEO be ready in 2 years?

April 24, 2014Jocelyne Durando

Succession Management establishes a foundation to ensure your organization has the right talent, in the right position, at the right time. Effective Succession processes allow any organization to respond quickly to change, and to overcome the loss of key talent and leadership.

Having an established talent pipeline is an ongoing challenge in any organization, but particularly in the nonprofit sector where boards too often wait until the current executive is on his or her way out the door before considering who would be a suitable replacement.  So if you are ready, here are the 4 steps towards successful Succession Management:

  1. Use Quantitative Tools and Measures to Identify Successors

Some tools and measurements to help you identify successors are organizational charts, competency assessments, a nine or four box grid, and succession metrics. Two years isn’t that far away, so I would recommend leveraging the four box grid below.

Some examples of Succession Metrics (provided by Bersin & Associates) that organizations commonly track on a regular basis are:

  • number of high potentials
  • number of successors for critical roles or key positions
  • readiness of successors
  • success of successor placement
  • number of talent transfer (talent mobility)
  • percentage of key position vacant
  • retention of high performers and high potentials
  • strength of overall talent pools (bench strength)
  • employee engagement
  1. Assess Talent Readiness

Nonprofits need to know if employees are ready to move to the next role. Sometimes, the best way to find out is from the employee themselves, or from their peers. Some examples of Talent Readiness Tools to leverage are self-reviews and 360 degree competency assessments.

  1. Close Development Gaps

Bersin & Associates facilitated a study on High-Impact Succession Management. The analysis states, “Without a process of development, succession plans are only a list of names and have no real value”. So you may be asking yourself, how does this work in an organization where there is no time for development? Well, consider the alternative if you don’t invest the time. Make sure you are designing strategies to develop talent for two primary reasons:

  • To move identified successors from their current state of development to their future state of development
  • To determine the best way to close the gap between the two.

Two of the most effective techniques I have seen to help close the development gap are mentorship programs and job shadowing.

  1. Provide Opportunities for Employees to Pursue Career Interests

You want to make sure you are proactively supporting the movement of your talent, or they will eventually leave and find purpose somewhere else. To prevent an exodus of your most valuable team members:

  • employees need to be accountable for knowing what they like to do and what makes them happy
  • managers need to be accountable to for helping employees pursue their career interests
  • and opportunities for the internal mobility of employees needs to be plentiful.   

If you are considering your next steps and would like to have an HR professional help develop your Succession Management process, the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s HR Pro Bono Corps  can do just that. The Corps brings much-needed Talent Management consulting to nonprofits at no cost. Through this program, the Foundation matches HR professionals looking to share their time and skills with nonprofits in need of coaching or project-based consulting.

Leave a comment and let us know what succession management practices you have used in your organization.

Image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
About Jocelyne Durando

As the Client Success Manager, Jocelyne Durando is responsible for supporting the Foundation’s Strategic Partners and Impact Grant Partners, by providing counsel and guidance aimed at ensuring a successful experience with Cornerstone’s Integrated Talent Management... more


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