Procedure: Succession planning
To establish the procedure for succession planning as provided for under the Developing a sustainable workforce policy.
- Succession planning is part of the overall process of developing a sustainable workforce which requires a:
- workforce plan that identifies broad current and future workforce needs; and
- succession plans to identify specific replacement strategies at an individual staff or group level.
- Succession planning should be undertaken for key positions or groups of staff, including:
- University leadership;
- College leadership (College Deans/Directors, Deputy/Associate Deans, and College General Managers);
- academic leaders in research;
- academic leaders in education;
- professional staff leaders;
- technical specialists; and/or
- other groups identified in workforce plans
- Succession planning involves the systematic identification and development of internal replacement strategies for key positions or groups of positions.
- Key positions are those that are critical to meeting the research, education and service objectives of the University, and where a delay in filling a vacancy would have significant adverse effect on the operation of the University.
- Succession planning helps sustain the future of research, education and service by:
- identifying key positions;
- identifying high potential staff capable of advancement to those key positions; and
- identifying and initiating development plans and actions to support high potential staff.
- Succession planning does not replace the University’s merit based recruitment and appointment processes, it seeks to ensure the University has a strong internal field of candidates to be considered for key positions in the future.
Developing a College / Division succession plan
- Succession plans should be developed from College/Division workforce plans in accordance with the Workforce Planning Procedure which are integrated and aligned with the College/Division strategic and operational plans, including but not limited to:
- the ANU Strategic Plan;
- College/Division strategic plans;
- Research Committee and Education Committee priorities;
- annual executive planning priorities; and/or
- marketing and development priorities;
- When developing succession plans, Colleges and Divisions should ensure that they consider:
- the future direction of the College's research, education and service disciplines;
- the future direction of the Division in supporting the College's research, education and service disciplines;
- continuity risks or areas where significant disruption may be felt if key staff left;
- age profiles and retirement plans of key staff; and
- performance assessments of senior staff.
Step 1: Identifying key positions
- Identify the specific positions in each area of the College/Division where planned replacement action is essential. It is not normally intended that this process maps potential replacements for every position.
- Obtain general background on the present incumbent of each key position and complete the profile template at Succession Planning Position Profile.
- Assess the likelihood, and possible timing, of the need to fill the position due to possible departure of the present incumbent. A guide to identifying the likelihood that key staff may leave can include the amount of time an incumbent has been in their position; their age in relation to possible retirement intentions; and any other information that may be provided by staff during their Career and Performance Development discussions.
Step 2: Identifying potential successors
- Consider the possible successors that might be suitable to fill the position within a range of timeframes such as:
- within 1 year; and
- within 2-3 years.
- Depending on the potential successors identified, determine the urgency and nature of development or targeted recruitment action required:
- If no successors, then external recruitment may be required. If the availability of external candidates is low, then a specific recruitment replacement strategy should be developed for the position.
- If potential successors require considerable development, then an accelerated development plan, linked to the individual's Performance Development Review, should be developed.
- If a full range of short and long term successors are identified then no specific actions may be required - monitor the situation in case it changes.
- A College/Division succession plan does not replace individual performance planning and discussions, or budgeting and financial planning. Workforce and succession plans support the College/Division strategic objectives and resource decisions to ensure that future staffing arrangements are sustainable and integrated.
Step 3: Identifying relevant development strategies
- Development strategies for ‘potential' successors may include:
- formal leadership/management or technical skills training;
- opportunities to act in the role or other similar roles;
- working on identified projects;
- mentoring or coaching;
- provision of additional responsibilities to build skills/confidence; and/or
- planned ‘on-the-job' training.
Linking to the performance and development review
- Development plans for individuals should be included in their Performance and Development Review.
- Care must be taken to ensure that potential ‘successors' are not given the expectation that they will be appointed to a key position. The normal competitive and merit-based selection and appointment processes will apply.
Reviewing and evaluating
- The Human Resources Division will evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the University succession planning framework.