The Challenge

A complex industry and a radically-changing company. In this situation, reflections are often only business related, but business is done by individuals and it is they who bring success or failure to a project. This case explains how the HR Department, in conjunction with the business, succeeded in drawing a map of its company’s future needs in order to discover who the best are and when to cover a critical position. A succession plan that forms part of an integrated talent management model aligned with a strategy that serves to segment its employees’ potential, to build a map of organisational risks and to plan the succession of critical positions.

Our approach and success

Succession plans are the best instrument for a company to have permanent information on its workforce’s talent and it can design and start up preparation plans for the best candidates, thus ensuring that it will always have suitable profiles for each position.

The company’s HR department was facing a complex situation:

  • On the business side, the company had changed shareholders, transforming its structures and departments and had begun an internationalisation process.
  • HR managers had to plan the needs that the organisation would have in the medium term and adapt them to a new, totally different culture.
  • Its starting material was not suitable for these purposes: little information on the workforce – in which there had been a significant generation change – which was limited to paper CVs.
  • There was no analysis or suitable tools in place to be able to evaluate internal talent.
  • And all of this in an especially complex industry where talent is absolutely critical.

The company’s HR managers set an ambitious goal: they wanted to change the firm’s leadership model, create a talent map and digitalise the information to make it easier to manage.

  • The succession plan was designed not as a contingency plan, but one that provided a cross-sector view, enabling a map to be drawn that the company could use to find out where it would need talent, which employees could fill these positions and to prepare these successors’ careers.
  • The leadership model was designed linking the company’s goals and the new culture together, based on the values of integrity, collaboration, self-motivation, exemplariness and availability.
  • Two parallel plans were started up for managers and critical positions: middle management in the corporate structure but strategic for the organisation and for employees who were difficult to replace in the market and whose learning curve was lengthy.
  • The plan meant evaluating 15% of the workforce, with whom work was done to discover their expectations, mobility possibilities, potential, etc. The company set objective criteria for selecting the talent that it was going to work with initially: qualifications and languages were established as essential conditions.
  • Throughout the entire plan, internal communication played an essential role so that the employees understood what the goal was, how the creation of the plan might affect them and that the rules were totally transparent and the criteria were objective and the same for everyone.

After starting up the plan, the company had at its disposal a clear road map containing accurate information of what its needs would be and which individuals could cover critical positions.

Having designed a map enabled them to:

  • Get ahead of any possible staff turnovers, so that candidates have formed part of a preparation plan that includes training and performance in cross-sector positions in the company.
  • Have comprehensive information available on risk, which pinpoints positions where available talent is in place or where internal talent does not suffice to cover future development.
  • Create a dynamic system, which can be reviewed on a two-yearly basis in order to include new employees and to have constantly updated information.
  • Plan training and necessary staff turnovers in order to prepare the best candidates.
  • Computerise a photo of the workforce so that decision-making is seamless and efficient.

Have the very best in the positions where they are needed.

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