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Successful Succession Planning Requires Data, HR Tech



Some industries — especially manufacturing — are facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining new talent as more Baby Boomers retire. Between succession planning and navigating candidate skills gaps during the recruitment process, some firms are looking at a very uncertain future.

As a result, HR will need to find effective ways to recruit Gen Z talent. If you haven’t yet experienced it firsthand, this demographic has different expectations from work than previous generations, and HR practices that worked 10 years ago may no longer be effective.

In an episode of HRMorning‘s podcast “Voices of HR,” Joanne Taylor, vice president of operations for the human resources consulting company Clear Employer Services, talked about how HR pros need to leverage data and HR technology in their succession planning.

Listen to the full episode here

Essential Data for Succession Planning

The data sets to start capturing and analyzing now to strategically drive your organization’s succession planning are:

  • Turnover: What departments is it coming from and why? For example, is turnover concentrated in the first few months of employment? This could indicate a problem with onboarding or unrealistic expectations set during the recruitment process.
  • Time-to-fill: How long does it typically take to fill open positions? Are you prioritizing speedy hires over quality hires, potentially leading to hiring the wrong person who leaves quickly?
  • Skills gaps: What skills will your workforce need in the future to meet changing business demands? Identifying these will help you target recruitment efforts and develop training programs.

“I tend to look broader and … not just at the company’s data, but … data across industries and look at [data from] the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Taylor said. “If you are a company that doesn’t have your own internal data that you’ve collected and can look historically back on, broaden your lens. Data’s out there and it’s out there for specific industries.”

HR Tech Solutions for Succession Planning

Applicant tracking systems that allow for texting and other communication methods preferred by Gen Z applicants will be a key tech tool, Taylor said. “It used to be that we could call up applicants and schedule interviews. Nobody [answers a phone call] today. … Can we push out scheduling options to applicants … in the way that they want it delivered to them [in] the way that they’re comfortable communicating?” she said.

State-of-the-art learning and development platforms that provide Gen Z employees with opportunities for growth and career development, which they highly value, will be another wise investment.

With a data-driven approach to succession planning, you may also have to utilize AI-powered data analytics platforms that are able to glean insights from your HR data and identify important trends.

Additional Succession Planning Strategies

By understanding the needs and expectations of Gen Z, HR can prepare their workforce for the next five to 10 years. Taylor suggested:

  • Career pathing: Tap into long-term career aspirations. Voices of HR host Berta Alrdich commented:
    “[Gen Z] wants micro-promotions. They want to see that their efforts are being rewarded. And … they want learning and development. … And so how are you going to help them continue to progress — whether it’s in one position or as they continue to ascend in your organization? Because now you’re competing, not only with all the other … organizations, but with the gig economy, with Uber.”
  • Rethinking your onboarding: Provide opportunities for Gen Z employees to connect with co-workers and learn about company culture. “As new people walk in the door, they can’t feel the cold shoulder from the existing employees,” Taylor said.
Watch the full episode here

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