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How to manage succession planning in a talent crisis

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Organizational turnover 

Highest annualized turnover 26.74% – April 2022  

Current annualized turnover 18.46% – March 2023 

Succession planning 

13% of employee population is age 60 or older 

‘Who will my successor be?’ 

For Gast, he says that this is presenting a major challenge for HR leaders – sourcing the right talent to plug those inevitable gaps.  

“It’s not often that people will raise their hand and say ‘Why don’t we look at figuring out who my successor is?’ But we should be encouraging that, even if it is a tough conversation to have. I would say that’s my biggest challenge right now.” 

And Gast isn’t alone. According to data from the Information and Communications Technology Council, 71% of employers are having difficulty in finding skilled workers for their organizations. Despite this, research from Deloitte highlighted that while 56% of companies have a succession plan in theory, just 35% have a documented plan in place.  

It’s this disconnect that’s creating a gap – one which only really emerges after a senior leader is leaving and the panic sets in. For Gast, he tells HRD that succession planning has been both an adversary and an achievement for him over the past year – having seen firsthand what successful planning can lead to.  

“One of the reasons this succession planning is so key to me is I’ve worked a lot on that in the last year,” he says. “I know I’m not going to be here. I know there there’s going to be a successor. And so it’s been really gratifying to me to see the three main HR directors who’ve been working with me for the last eight years here be promoted this past year. I would say that’s that easily one of my proudest achievements.” 

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