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HR experts bemoan lack of succession plans by companies

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Human resources experts have decried the absence of clearly defined succession plans in most companies, which leads to teams not having the required bench strength, and had to press their reset buttons whenever top performers leave.

These scenarios, experts said, ranged from the lack of support from team members who refuse to mentor designated successors, to HR teams not knowing how to design and implement a succession plan.

Recently, over 50 HR experts and top business professionals gathered in Lagos, to discuss human resource management strategies that help organisations plan for the right hire, identify, develop, and retain top-performing talents and position teams for seamless succession.

The event, ‘Talking Talent’, was the maiden edition of a series of HR workshops planned to take place across different countries in Africa, and is the brainchild of The African Talent Company (TATC), a Pan-African recruitment firm offering ‘fit-for-purpose’ HR solutions across talent acquisition, HR technology, data analysis, and consultancy.

Among the speakers, Brett Mulder, Chief Operating Officer, PeopleTree Group, who led the breakout group on succession planning, defined the term as a risk management strategy to ensure leadership continuity, preserve institutional knowledge, and in most cases, develop talent from within the organisation.

He said: “Gaining commitment from the executive and creating a structured roadmap to guide your investment in time is critical in implementing a plan that ensures successors actually succeed. Identify key roles for succession, adopt an evidence-based approach to assessing readiness, identify pools of talent that could potentially fill these roles and finally develop employees to be ready for advancement into key roles.”

Managing Partner, TATC, Heather O’Shea, who focused on hiring right, also said top companies all struggle with getting their workforce planning correct, not knowing when to ‘buy, borrow, build or bind’ the skill, adding that HR must use effective workforce planning to get the right fit.

Speaking at a panel discussion, which she chaired, Jobberman Chief Executive Officer, Hilda Kragha, said: “When you find good people, as an organisation, you need to make your value proposition interesting for them at every stage of their journey with you, so they are motivated to deliver more, for longer.”


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