This year is the 50th anniversary for the Northern Ohio Human Resources Conference, better known as NOHRC. Over 650 HR professionals gathered at the IX center earlier this month for the two-day event sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of SHRM. The second day was filled with national and local speakers who provided tremendous content on topics related to talent management and HR.

As with Mike Medoro’s CSHRM Newsletters (each successive newsletter is the best one yet), this NOHRC event was the best I have attended. That is high praise since I have been to several and they have all been great – including the two events planned and delivered in magnificent style by Maria Gaeta and Michelle Salis while I served as president of CSHRM.

One of the sessions I attended this year was titled Building Succession Planning Capabilities by Marian Wright. For me it was coincidental that Lauren Rudman, Past President of CSHRM, sat next to me. Lauren has been involved in CSHRM for years, as far back as when I was on the board. Even then I was certain Lauren would lead the organization one day. The chapter has done an excellent job of recruiting and nurturing volunteer leaders to keep CSHRM relevant and growing. That brings me back to the succession planning session.

Marian Wright is a former HR executive and owner of Wrightside Consulting. Her presentation included:

  1. A definition of succession planning – identifying and developing people with potential to fill key positions.
  2. Several factors on why succession planning is important – looming retirements, potential loss of institutional knowledge, over-reliance on enigmatic leaders and unplanned leadership departure.
  3. Benefits of proactive succession planning – talent pipeline, stronger leaders, career path communication and leadership diversity.
  4. Key components of succession planning – inventory of key positions, evaluation of talent performance and potential, developmental plans and follow-through.
  5. Best in class succession planning characteristics – leaders held responsible for developing talent, plans reviewed regularly and use of 360-degree feedback.
  6. Importance of using metrics, and examples – bench depth, diversity, effectiveness and development plans.
  7. Challenges – lack of management support, learning curves and lack of internal talent.
  8. Logical starting points – building a business case for succession planning, identifying key roles and truly understanding talent.

Marian included tools and support materials to build her case for proactive succession planning, and shared stories of her experiences implementing world-class succession planning for her employers and clients. The session was well attended and Marian was generous with providing advice and guidance in the Q & A session. For example, even though conventional wisdom indicates that millennials will change jobs with record frequency, Marian noted that talent retention will increase with proactive succession planning. Overall, Marian’s presentation was entertaining, informative and impressive.

Proactive succession planning has been used successfully by the NOHRC and CSHRM HR professionals for 50 years and counting. Thanks for another great event, and best wishes for another 50 years of success!

Please let us know if we can help you with your proactive succession plans.


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