How to prepare for senior staff stepping down | EEF

How to prepare for senior staff stepping down

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How to prepare for senior staff stepping downBy: Garry Platt - L&D Consultant 

Staff turnover is an inevitable part of any business and should be considered as something inevitable. The important thing is to prepare for that scenario by developing a talent pipeline in order to make the transition as smooth as possible and avoid disruption to your business.

By investing in and developing newly appointed, aspiring and middle managers you can help secure future productivity and growth for your business.

1. Reduce turnover in senior staff

Conduct regular one-to-one meetings with key managers, ask how they feel within the business, if there’s anything they would like to change and what their aspirations are.

Find out what matters to employees and make sure that what they want aligns with business goals.

 This doesn’t necessarily have to be done for all roles and functions. It’s better to put time, effort and focus, at least in the beginning, into making sure the right talent is developed for your business’ high risk key functions, as your ongoing contingency plan.

The colourful graph below explains how to identify the right retention efforts and priorities for key functions in the organisation, depending on:
1. How important will the functions be to the business in the future (is the business facing changes in the near future)?
2. What is the business’ capability to have current talent take over the role?
3. How vital is the role and how urgent is it to develop a talent pipeline?


Image: Barclays 

"Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."   -Richard Branson

2. Preparing for the inevitable – A senior staff member leaving 

To make sure you have the right talent pipeline for any future scenario where a key staff member leaves, the first thing to do would be to go through the business and try to identify where the talent has the potential to move into those roles.

Barclay’s talent pipeline (see image below) identifies three types of talent.

Executive talent: Existing executive talent in your organisation that can easily step into a role with minimal development and orientation.

Emerging talent: People who are beginning to show promise and have significant potential but need development and training.

Entry-Level talent: People who have just entered the business and have potential for a highly accelerated progression. 



Image: Barclays

You may not want to do this for every function in your organisation, because there will be certain talent pipelines that will become less crucial for the business over time, especially with the advance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A useful tool for identifying the talent in your organisation is Axiom’s Adapted 9-Box Framework for Talent Reviews. This model enables you to understand where each potential talent is situated, based on their performance and future potential, and how to develop them accordingly.


Image: Axiom


3. Promote from within or recruit from outside the organisation – what’s better?

It’s usually best to promote from within, especially if you have developed the right talent pipeline with management and leadership skills, as mentioned above. However – and this should be a conscious decision – for some functions in some situations (depending on your business) it is sometimes useful to get some ‘fresh blood’ from outside the organisation. 

Businesses develop a culture, value set and approach, and sometimes bringing people into that environment from outside the business can provide new ideas and concepts that might have never been considered before. 

Explore our range of management and leadership courses and start developing your talent pipeline.

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