When it comes to succession planning and career planning, skills development is an important factor. Human Resources (HR) plays an important role in these processes. However, HR's job is not to make decisions for the company in terms of key selections. HR simply plays the role of facilitator and architect.
When it comes to designing succession plans and career paths, it is important to properly communicate the difference between succession planning and career pathing to employees. This helps them understand what these processes are and what they are not, which can avoid any unfortunate rumours and misconceptions from developing. These can have a negative impact on morale, so it’s best to nip it in the bud.
Career pathing is a process whereby employees systematically lay out the path of career development that they aspire to and in line with what is available to them within their company. Employees who follow career development paths have some degree of control and autonomy over their careers, which can help motivate them and give them a sense of direction.
Succession planning is not employee-led like career pathing. Rather, it is a top-down process designed to address the needs of the organisation in terms of workforce planning. When done correctly, succession planning can help to bridge the gap between career pathing and the needs of the company to ensure better employee retention and motivation while meeting the company’s workforce requirements. This can help improve morale and create a more positive culture within the company, which in turn can attract better talent.
Succession planning on its own cannot be expected to ensure an effective talent management strategy. While it is a critical part of workforce planning in high-performance companies, those who have the right set of skills are increasingly faced with a plethora of choices. Therefore, to remain a competitive employer, succession planning needs to be met with adequate career pathing.
Many employees might be willing to leave their current jobs if a better offer comes along. The better offer is not always compensation-dependent. Sometimes it can depend on non-monetary factors, such as workplace culture and career development opportunities.
This further entrenches the importance of marrying career pathing to succession planning. Employees should feel as though their individual career plans are taken into consideration by the company and that they have a future.
Included in this should be the right set of benefits needed by the employee, including skills development opportunities.