Recently I came across this quote: “True succession planning takes time – it’s a process, not an event.”
Earlier in my career, I think I may have underestimated the full impact of this concept; but over time I have come to realise that not only is succession planning a process, but it is also a vital process that serves and benefits both employees and the organization equally.
About a year ago the Jumeirah Group, a global luxury hotel and resort company with over 14,000 employees, decided it was time to design and implement a comprehensive and structured succession planning framework, and one that allowed us to incorporate performance reviews.
This was by no means a small undertaking, and the technology and the work involved from moving data from one system to another required training. In fact, it was only when my colleagues and I first sat down with SumTotal Systems to begin the discussion about how we would proceed, what our goals were and how we envisaged achieving these goals, that the enormity of the task dawned on me.
But fortunately, SumTotal was there to help me integrate the new system with all the old systems, provided training for new systems and technology, and even when it was all up and running continued to provide much-needed support, advice and reassurance through their support portal.
There were a few bumps naturally, but thanks to the simplicity of the design and the expert training, our completion rate of appraisals rocketed from 7% to 97%.
We also noticed that, due to the implementation of the succession planning process, we now could set in motion the steps to ensure any high potentials who were identified were suitably recognized and provided with additional support and opportunities to develop and thrive. In a way, having all this data about our employees has enabled us to establish a talent pipeline and consequently both employees and the organization reap the benefits.
We also went paperless, something I’m personally quite proud of, and despite the additions to our talent management system, it is now a lot easier to access and utilize.
Earlier this month Aon Hewitt, a leading global human resource consulting company named us a “Best Employer in the UAE,” and although I know there are many reasons we earned this accolade, I can’t help but feel that our new talent management processes played a part.
Muna Al Mazam is the Talent Manager of Learning & Development for the Jumeirah Group.