Encourage More Transparency in the Workplace to Benefit Your Succession Planning

Encourage More Transparency in the Workplace to Benefit Your Succession Planning

Transparency in your organization can help in many different areas — including succession planning.

There are many reasons we are seeing a movement for greater transparency in the workplace. One is to close the gender pay gap; another is to enable employees to feel more in control of their destinies.

Greater transparency has broader applications, too. It's important to ensure employees are deeply involved in succession planning. Organizations can help drive their succession objectives by willingly expressing a worker's potential and working with that employee to achieve it.

According to Dr. Susan Hanold, Vice President of Talent Strategy at ADP, "the etiquette is shifting" in this job market with the younger generation. Some organizations, she says, are having difficulty getting employees to show up on the start date or staying through the 30-, 60-, or 90-day mark.

Hanold adds that many organizations are not getting any good, usable feedback from their exit interviews, and that many outgoing employees are not having these interviews at all. Instead, they're just leaving. In order to successfully recruit and retain employees, it is important to understand why people leave. The way to counteract this trend is to do stay interviews and engagement surveys.

Conduct Periodical Engagement Surveys

According to Dr. Hanold, you should use engagement surveys to "ask a few brief questions about what is keeping them at this company." Do this during orientation, onboarding and at certain milestones along the way, such as one-year anniversaries and promotions. You want to know what is keeping them engaged, and what is stopping them from leaving. These appear to be the most effective when they are done in-person, not anonymously.

Many businesses are utilizing multiple stakeholders to engage with the employee directly or indirectly, such as an HR representative or their manager, and this appears to be working.

Revisit Compensation More Frequently

If the issue truly is compensation, organizations may need to revisit their compensation strategy more often than the usual annual pay raise. With the more tech-savvy younger generation often turning to online organizations that compile pay data, they're often concerned about being paid less than their peers at other organizations. Ask, "Am I competitive in the marketplace on pay?"

However, compensation is only one aspect of the conversation. People do not typically leave due to pay unless the salary offered by a competitor is markedly higher; other reasons drive that decision. Understanding those drivers are why engagement surveys are crucial.

Include Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring is a process in which young workers empower their superiors by providing insight into new technology, emerging trends and fresh perspectives. According to Dr. Hanold, reverse mentoring works as a two-way street. "They (employees) want exposure to the leaders," she said. "They want to keep progressing."

Once you have reverse mentoring in place, you need to arm recruiters with the right messaging about training and career development. Doing so establishes consistency throughout the interview and onboarding process. With reverse mentoring, the senior managers can be located anywhere in the world, as the emphasis is on exposure.

Reverse mentoring doesn't just help new and up-and-coming managers. It also helps senior leadership remain aware of new technology, current trends and developments that may be beyond its area of expertise. Many successful reverse mentoring programs involve managers from wholly unrelated areas.

The consistency in messaging and treatment that transparency in the workplace promotes can lead to significant succession planning benefits.

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