Succession planning an ongoing struggle

Flatter corporate structures and a more competitive labour market mean organisations are finding it hard to fill leadership roles

Succession planning an ongoing struggle
Succession planning has become a significant challenge for HR professionals across Asia with many struggling to secure a reliable talent pipeline – however, one industry head says the issue can be overcome as long as employers can look beyond the corporate ladder.

“As the market becomes more competitive, and business models are more dynamic, organisations are finding it more and more difficult to secure the leadership talent needed to compete,” says Matthew Paese, VP of succession and C-suite services for Development Dimensions International (DDI).

Paese works with leading organisations around the world to design and implement strategic talent initiatives, including succession planning – he says the growth of flat corporate structures has had a significant impact on the talent shortage.

“Succession has traditionally focused on job replacements, and development has emphasized job rotation but in flatter organizations, jobs are more scarce,” he tells HRD.

According to Paese, this situation means management – with HR’s help – must look beyond traditional job rotations to create short-term assignments that accelerate learning and growth.

“These may come in the form of business analysis efforts, task force leadership, or other specialized errands that management deems essential to the business,” he explains.

“All businesses have a healthy supply of these developmental experiences, but not all organisations develop the skill to identify them and assign people to address them. Those that do find greater flexibility and success in generating accelerated development pathways for leaders.”

Due to the flatter corporate structure, organisations must also explore lateral opportunities that keep employees engaged in the workforce while preparing them for potential roles in the future.

“For HR, this means that supplying leaders with exposure to varied business assignments and opportunities to learn and develop new skills is essential to the engagement and retention of the most ambitious and motivated people,” says Paese.

“We have seen more and more leaders not only being willing, but in fact preferring to make lateral moves to different functional territory instead of making upward moves within their current space,” he continues. “The dynamic nature of business and increasing value of a diverse skill set have clearly impacted this shift in career expectations.”

Related stories:
Attracting, retaining talent directly affects bottom line
HR head reveals biggest challenge

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