Succession planning – a great idea that is in need of a re-think

There has been a long held myth that unless you are working in a large commercialised sport the opportunities for succession planning are reasonably limited. While smaller resourced organisations certainly operate lean and reasonably flat, in isolation this should not eliminate opportunities for succession planning.

However, we need to shift our thinking on succession planning away from the traditional emphasis of internal career progression, to a broader and more mature view on the career opportunities within the sector as a whole.

The traditional succession model assumes employees will seek career advancement with their present employer, are loyal employees, have the patience to stay until an opportunity arises and will stay even if they miss out on a promotion. With an oversupply of employees vying for internal promotion (the inverted pyramid), the obvious career frustration from those that miss out and workplace loyalty no longer something employers can rely on, the foundations of succession planning are flawed.

The modern view acknowledges the sector has a responsibility for the development of talent and the sector as a whole benefits from the exchange of this talent. Employers need to shift their focus away from self-interest staff development programs to embrace the idea that it’s OK if staff seek opportunities elsewhere, as long as they’ve made a positive impact during the stop on their career journey.

One of the greatest measures of a business has to be the quality of its people. But we ought not restrict this to the people that work there now. One of the endearing and powerful measures of a successful business is the accomplishment of its people after they leave.

As an employer said to me only last week… “We invest in our staff so they come out of our organisation better people than when they started here.”

That sentiment sums it up really. Our collective responsibility as an industry is to invest in our people resource to ensure the ongoing supply of appropriately trained, qualified and experienced staff. The greater the investment the stronger we’ll be. Employees and Employers.

RM – Sportspeople Recruitment
First Published 2018

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