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Laboratory Succession Planning

11 Jun 2019 8:36 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. ~ John F. Kennedy

The Broomfield Wastewater Laboratory has been undergoing change for the past 4 months.  Several analysts have been promoted and assumed new duties. Even with the process working relatively smoothly, it took 4 months for the laboratory to be completely staffed. We were lucky that we had such dedicated and competent analysts that wanted to advance.  This process made me think about the importance of succession planning.

So, what is succession planning?  It is a process designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organization by creating a steady and reliable pipeline of talent that will meet its future needs in leadership and other key roles.

In a laboratory it is important to train at least two analysts on the same procedure.  The procedure can be the primary duty of one analyst and the other analyst can be used for back-up. That way you have coverage for vacations and sick leave.  This is also beneficial when a person decides to quit or retire, because you aren’t left without someone who can step-up and fill the gap.

It is the lab supervisor’s job to make their staff successful.  Don’t put roadblocks in their way.

McKinsey said there are seven obstacles to successful talent management:

    1.    Senior managers don’t spend enough high-quality time on talent management

    2.    Organization is “siloed” and does not encourage constructive collaboration and sharing of resources

    3.    Line managers are not sufficiently committed to development of people’s capabilities and careers

    4.    Line managers are unwilling to differentiate their people as top-average and under-performers

    5.    Senior leaders are not sufficiently involved in shaping talent management strategy

    6.    Senior leaders do not align talent management strategy with business strategy

    7.    Line managers do not address under-performance effectively, even when chronic

Take the time and look at your team and talk to them about their future plans.  Establish a process to start succession planning. Some stats to consider: 66% of senior managers hired from the outside usually fail within the first 18 months (Center for Creative Leadership); companies with a succession plan that results in an internal hire “are less likely to experience this negative effect on employee morale” (Making Transitions Work,” Canadian Center for Management Development)

Lesa Julian has worked for the City and County of Broomfield for 28 years.  She is currently the Environmental Services Superintendent.

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