Can Succession Planning Be Done Under Fiscal
This question comes up often. Some think that workforce
and succession planning is a waste of time when few jobs are being
filled. Why plan if we can't fill jobs? Workforce and succession
planning aren't just about preparing for the automatic replacement
of employees who leave or retire. The concepts are broader.
Succession planning is about identifying critical
positions and preparing to move people into those jobs, often
to replace employees who are leaving. This needs to be done even
though appointments may be delayed by budget restrictions. Workforce
planning involves evaluating the current and anticipated work
of the organization and then designing or re-designing jobs to
fit the needs of the agency. Many agencies are re-assessing the
work they do and re-evaluating the knowledge, skills and abilities
needed by employees due to changes in technology, services provided,
etc. It is about matching the workforce to the work that needs
to be done.
Having said this, there are those who say: "Why
do succession planning when everyone has to take a test anyway?
You'll never know who will be at the top of the list." It's
true; you will need to use eligible lists for competitive class
positions and your succession planning needs to take this into
account. It's not a matter of picking and developing a successor,
hoping he or she will be reachable on the eligible list. You need
to implement an approach that provides opportunities for development
to all qualified employees on a voluntary or universal basis.
There are costs in time and effort associated with
workforce and succession planning. But having the right staff
in the right place at the right time who are properly trained
should translate into a fiscal return and improved organizational
performance. As such, workforce and succession planning are a
long-term investment that continues to be worthwhile regardless
of the waxing and waning of budgets. Who can argue with staff
being well prepared for the challenges of agency strategic initiatives
and the ever-changing world in which we work?