From Ghana, Kumasi

CAREER development is the process of becoming aware of the opportunities available, the constraints and consequences of a career choice, identifying career-related goals and working towards attainment of such goals.

Succession planning is the process of having the right number and the right type of people at the right places and time doing things which result in long-term benefits for both the organisation and the individual.

The basic unit of both career development and succession planning is the employee. The organisation's objective in implementing career development and succession planning is similar - having available the right type of individuals through all phases of the organisation's development in order to achieve the corporate objectives.

As individuals develop, they would tend to leave if they do not see opportunities for career growth within the organisation. If there is no succession planning, or if there is poor communication regarding the opportunities available within the organisation, the individual may choose to leave and the organisation subsequently loses out. As far as the organisation is concerned, the availability of a structure to assist individuals achieve their career goals would be useless unless this is tied to Succession Planning.

Since the individual's career plans do not necessarily have to revolve around his or her present organisation, it is important for the latter to match both the individual's career goals and that of the company so that both are moving in the same direction.

Responsibility for career development should be jointly held by both the organisation's top management and the individual. The organisation's duty is to provide the opportunities for career development and it is then up to the individual to take advantage of those opportunities. The organisation should also ensure that its employees are aware of such and now how to make use of these opportunities. If after all such opportunities are made available and the individual does not show any interest, then there is nothing the organisation can do.

Where succession planning is concerned, however, it is solely the responsibility of the senior management to ensure that there are secondliners for each important position in the organisation. These secondliners should be available, trained and ready to assume those positions of higher responsibility if and when they become vacant. Without this back-up system, the organisation may face tremendous loss in the event of any untimely vacancy due to resignation, prolonged illness or death.

The starting point should be succession planning to ensure that all-important portions like technical or professional specialists and all senior and middle managers have back-ups. The human resource manager is usually assigned the responsibility of co-ordinating the system. He should have a clear understanding of the present manpower situation and the organisation's operational objectives in regard to:

* Capital investments

* Product changes, additions, deletions

* Changes in raw materials and processes

The above information is usually part of the human resource plan, and if available for periods of from one to five years, will give an indication of future requirements for the positions for which succession planning is required. A decision should be made in terms of which are the key positions needing back-ups so that projections of future requirements can be made. Projections for period over five years would be too inaccurate to be of any real use especially in an ever-changing environment. Once the positions have been identified, historical data relating to turnover, retirements, promotions, transfers and terminations need to be considered.

Having identified what the human resource requirements are, the human resource manager should now re-examine what is available within the organisation and this is best accomplished through a skills inventory or skills bank system. With this system, the organisation would have a complete picture of what each employee is capable of doing.

Also useful in the systematic analysis of employees is the use of data from annual performance appraisals, although at times there may be doubts as to the accuracy of the evaluations. Another alternative source of employee strengths and weaknesses is through the use of assessment centres.

Once all the available data has been obtained, succession charts can be prepared. For each key position the chart should show the name and age of he present incumbent and the names of all possible replacements. Information regarding the readiness and suitability of the potential replacements can then be entered so that should any vacancies arise, senior management can see at a glance who are those from within who are capable of filling the position.

When a vacancy occurs, decisions as to whether to promote from within and hire a replacement from outside are obviously not within the sole discretion of the human resource manager. He can make his recommendations but the top management must make the decision. With a succession planning system installed, however, such decisions will already have been made.

Career development is a shared responsibility between the individuals in a company and the organisation where the latter provides the opportunities and the employees undertake the personal improvements to achieve their career plans. In some organisations which are committed to career development, all employees are expected and challenged by the top management to set career goals, perform with excellence, obtain recognition for their accomplishments and sustain their career growth.

All employees must set goals which are measurable, expressed in a specific time frame, challenging and yet realistic. Employees are implored to set goals which are compatible with the organisation's own objectives.

It should also be explained that career goals do not necessarily have to move upwards only; career paths can also move horizontally or even downwards to start a new career.

All employees are expected to perform with excellence and do their utmost best to meet all the standards set when working towards their goals. Although many people are shy to talk of their own accomplishments because they do not want to be considered boastful, a distinction should be made between empty boasting and seeking recognition for genuine accomplishments.

Employees should be required to prepare reports of their achievements and activities and submit these reports to those people in the organisation who should know, for example, immediate superior, head of department, the human resource manager, etc. The employee's immediate superior should be fully involved in guiding the employee. The organisation should provide developmental and educational opportunities so that employees are able to adapt to rapid changes in technology and business. When these opportunities are provided, it is then up to the individual to take advantage if he wants to develop his own career.

A comprehensive career development programme involves three main ingredients:

1. Assisting employees in assessing their own internal career needs;

2. Developing and publicising available career opportunities in the organisation; and

3. Aligning employee needs and abilities with career opportunities.

A person's career is a high personal and important element of his life. The basic stand of the organisation should be to provide all the guidance and help necessary but permit each person to make his own decision in this regard. The role of the human resource department is to assist employees in this decision-making process by providing as much information as possible through career counselling.

Many employees are often uncertain as to the type of work that would suit them best. By helping and providing some of the self-evaluation instruments already discussed above, the organisation can assist individuals in determining their primary interests and basic aptitudes to perform different types of work.

Some organisations provide formal assessment centre workshops or psychological personality profiling for employees using either internal experts or external consultants. With the aid of these experts, employees are helped to make decisions concerning proper career goals and specific development needs appropriate to those goals with the objective of helping employees to do their own planning.

Because all employees have definite career needs, there is a need for the organisation to chart specific career paths through the organisation for the information of employees. In jobs where there are only limited opportunities for significant progression, this should be identified and made known to possible applications so that only those employees who are heavily inclined towards security and who are not overly ambitious may find these jobs to be highly acceptable.

Employees should be told what types of jobs are available now and in the immediate future, as well as in the medium and long-term. Information on the actual duties of these jobs, as well as the skills required and the type of training and development opportunities available for employees to acquire these skills should also be provided. Employees should be aware of how they can become eligible for training and development programmes and their selection criteria. It is also important for employees to know what jobs lead to other employment, that is, the career paths available.

In general terms, job analysis will provide the basic information required to chart the lines of promotion within an organisation. A careful analysis should be made of the duties of lower jobs to determine the suitability and adequacy of preparation for higher jobs. Unfortunately, in many organisations, the lines of advancement are restricted to within a single department and are generally obvious to anyone who studies the organisation chart. In fact, careful analysis of job duties will lead to the discovery of many alternative lines of advancement to several jobs in different areas.

When employees have accurately assessed their career needs and the organisational employment opportunities have been communicated to all employees, the remaining problem is one of alignment. All developmental training programmes can be incorporated into a planned career development programme as part of this alignment process.

Emphasis should also be given to individualised developmental programmes like special assignments, planned job rotations and individual coaching by immediate superiors. The organisation's performance appraisal and management-by-objectives programmes should provide special focus on career progress and coaching needs as well as personal development objectives.

The final outcome of career development can be seen when the organisation makes specific transfer and promotion decisions for each employee. All the efforts of a career development programme will be meaningless if the employee does not progress along his individually-perceived career path.

* The writer is with O.D. Management Consultants Sdn Bhd where he conducts a wide variety of management and supervisory courses on an in-house basis. This article is extracted from "Planning, Recruiting and Selecting Human Resources" published by Federal Publications Sdn Bhd. Part one of this article appeared on Saturday December 5, 1998.*

From India, Bahadurgarh
in short

manpower planing is about identifying human resources to fill in the requirements for the sucessive year.. this is done taking into consideration the organizations business needs

Understaffing loses the business economies of scale and specialization, orders, customers and profits.

Overstaffing is wasteful and expensive, if sustained, and it is costly to eliminate because of modern legislation in respect of redundancy payments, consultation, minimum periods of notice, etc. Very importantly, overstaffing reduces the competitive efficiency of the business.

Planning staff levels requires that an assessment of present and future needs of the organization be compared with present resources and future predicted resources. Appropriate steps then be planned to bring demand and supply into balance

career deveoplement is to help emplyoees track their career progression within the organization..this can be used as a retention tool..because.. accomplistment of growth,status is very much needed to motivate people(maslow's hiearchy of needs)

sucession planning is about identifying and developing potential employees to fill in the anticipated critical position within the organization in future.. this is mainly done for the senior middle and top management..

From India, Bangalore

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