C-Suite talks HR: Spencer Enright, CEO, Brookfield Real Estate Services Manager

In the real estate world, planning for change is a necessity

C-Suite talks HR: Spencer Enright, CEO, Brookfield Real Estate Services Manager

In the real estate world, planning for change is a necessity. When a leader opts to jump ship or retire, it’s essential, for both the sustainability of the business and the profitability of their brand, to have a successor lined up.

We spoke to Spencer Enright, CEO, Brookfield Real Estate Services Manager Limited, who gave us his take on the importance of strong succession planning, and revealed why he believes AI will have a defining role in the HR process going forward.

What mistakes do organizations make in succession planning?

“Effective succession planning is about ensuring the organization can effectively manage through a change in critical roles either when the time is right, or when it becomes necessary.  We can’t always plan for when succession is necessary, and a lack of contingency planning can be disastrous.

“Regardless of the size of the company, not having a succession plan in place that has already identified courses of action for the replacement of key personnel introduces uncertainty, delays and doubt in the organization’s ability to effectively manage through such change. A lack of preparedness in the event of a sudden change can be very damaging to the organization. 

“When considering internal candidates for eventual promotion to senior roles, it is dangerous to assume people will be ready when the organizational change happens.  Frequently, a promotion to a new level of seniority will require developing new leadership skills for the associate, and often I see individuals left to their own devices to determine how best to accomplish this.  Setting the organization up for success requires active management of the organization’s talent and offering support mechanisms to close those skill or experience gaps quickly.”

Where do you think succession planning fits in HR’s agenda?

“HR is and should be a business partner to the owners and the CEO of the company. HR should take a lead role in working alongside leadership to identify critical positions, assess talent and devise succession plans and options for leadership roles.  The HR team should be able to enable the leaders of the organization to really know their staff, to understand the talent needs of the business, and objectively assess the gaps in the succession plan.

“The plan isn’t static, and as the organization changes so does the plan.  HR can ensure it stays top of mind for leadership to ensure that as the organization grows or otherwise changes, that their assessment of candidate readiness for future roles is always kept current.

“It is difficult to underestimate the importance of ensuring there is a proper effective succession plan in place, and HR needs to take a lead role in the development and ongoing management of the plan.  As the name implies, succession means change in critical roles, and continuity of planning needs to survive such organizational changes.“

How can AI and Big Data help with succession planning?

“It is obvious that organizations must leverage today’s full range of social media tools to expand their search for talent.  HR software application providers are also incorporating AI more and more into their solutions, which benefits HR leaders in a ‘behind the scenes’ way. 

“However, we can tap into AI functionality in managing our employee base directly by learning how to access and better utilize the data we store.  Organizations invest heavily in Business Intelligence (BI) tools to improve their understanding of customers, suppliers, productivity and profitability, and these same tools can be applied to the organization’s workforce data to better understand its own staff’s capabilities.”

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