Integrating Recruitment and Succession Planning: Part 1

While these issues may seem like opposing forces, recruitment and succession planning go hand-in-hand and should be taken with an integrated approach to ensure that a company is effectively improving its bench strength by bringing in new talent and developing internal talent. When viewing an integrated approach, three main issues come to light: the ratio of internal to external recruitment, job posting versus management promotion and determining the optimal sources of external talent. A series of three articles will cover these issues in more detail.

The first issue, internal succession planning versus external recruitment, is often a hot topic amongst HR professionals. While some sources maintain that a fixed quota of internal candidates to external is the correct approach, i.e., firm x hires 20% of its leaders external and promotes 80% from within, more recent knowledge suggests that the ratio is different for each company—it is the justification for the particular balance that is important. To integrate both sources of talent and create a justifiable approach, clearly define the advantages and disadvantages of each talent source. For instance, outside candidates may bring in fresh approaches but may be a more difficult cultural fit. Whereas internal candidates may require less training but can easily become entrenched in the status quo. After defining these pros and cons, each individual position should be evaluated to determine the proper source of talent.

This task is difficult to do with an HR department alone. Therefore, HR must work closely with line managers to receive their feedback and collectively decide the proper source for a particular position. Keeping track of a position’s talent needs is best accomplished by the use of a succession planning template, e.g., here.  Once a track record has been established, HR can begin to feel out the most effective ratio for internal succession planning vs. external recruitment. Keep in mind, however, that as the business’s needs and its environment shift, this ration may shift as well.

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