Training and Development Solutions


March 2017   

Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future Workplace

Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace current leaders when they leave an organization. Effective succession planning requires a disciplined approach to identifying the most critical leadership roles across the organization, finding the people who could fill those roles and preparing them to step up.


While recruiting from outside the organization should be a strategic component of any plan, developing internal employees with the potential to move into leadership positions has many added benefits, including boosting employee morale, loyalty and retention. This approach also increases the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume new roles as they become available.


There are many reasons why organizations need to be thinking about succession planning. The impending retirement of many baby boomers is expected to have a major impact on workforce capacity. As vacancies in key positions are on the upswing in many organizations, demographics indicate there are fewer experienced people available to fill them. Many organizations eliminated middle manager positions in the downturn and are scrambling to meet the demand for senior management expertise as the economic recovery accelerates. Many younger managers and employees interested in moving up lack the requisite skills and experience and haven't been adequately trained to step up.


Succession planning directly addresses the fact that employees will not be with an organization indefinitely and provides a process for dealing with the changes that will occur when they leave. With careful planning and preparation, organizations can manage the changes that result from a generational transfer of leadership as well as the ongoing fluctuations due to turnover of key employees and other potential workplace disruptions.


Many organizations tend to focus succession planning on the executive and senior management levels. Depending on the company size, however, it is often advisable to include middle managers, supervisors and all key positions in the plan. A useful way to think about which positions are key is to look at what is crucial for the operations of your organization and which combination of skills and experience would be hard to replace.


An effective succession plan will focus first on developing potential employees from within an organization. Employees who are assessed to have the skills, knowledge, qualities, motivation and potential can be developed through training, mentoring and other strategies to move into key positions. Important steps involved in planning include:

  • Assessing current and future needs based on strategic plans, goals and objectives.
  • Matching those needs to the capabilities of the existing workforce.
  • Developing a plan to manage the gaps that will arise when individuals in key positions leave or are promoted.

The resulting plan will generally include a combination of training and developing existing employees and outside recruiting as needed.


While succession planning is not necessarily the top priority in many organizations, addressing current and future needs to fill leadership and other key roles will become increasingly important for future organizational success.

"Before companies can start thinking about their succession plans, they have to understand their jobs."

- Sharlyn Lauby

HR Consultant


"Succession planning helps build the bench strength of an organization to ensure the long-term health, growth and stability."


- Teala Wilson

Talent Management Consultant


Anti-Retaliation Programs are Good for Workers and Good for Business

Retaliation against employees who raise or report concerns or otherwise exercise their rights under federal whistleblower provisions is not only illegal, it is also bad for workers and bad for business. When an employee accuses a manager, supervisor or organization of misconduct or a potential violation of law, an impartial response to the employee complaint may be difficult. However, any action against an employee that could be perceived as adverse makes the organization vulnerable to claims of retaliation, regardless of the merits of the complaint.


A proactive anti-retaliation program is designed to receive and respond appropriately to employees' complaints and concerns, and to prevent and address retaliation against employees who raise or report concerns. An anti-retaliation program that enables all members of the workforce, including permanent employees, contractors and temporary workers, to voice their concerns without fear of retaliation can help employers learn of problems and appropriately address them before they become more difficult to correct. A program based on this proactive approach not only helps employers ensure that they are following federal laws, but also helps create a positive workplace culture that prevents unlawful retaliation against employees.


Implementing an effective anti-retaliation program requires specific policies and commitments, and should include these five key elements:

  1. Management leadership, commitment and accountability
  2. A system for listening to and resolving employees' concerns
  3. A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
  4. Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
  5. Program oversight

All five elements should be integrated into a cohesive program in order to effectively protect employees from retaliation.


Download OSHA's Recommended Practices for Anti-Retaliation Programs to learn more about how to implement an effective anti-retaliation program.


Next Month: How to Design Effective Anti-Retalition Training

About Training and Development Solutions

Training and Development Solutions at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District delivers employee training, consulting and related support services to public and private sector organizations. We provide customized, on-site learning solutions that are innovative, practical and cost-effective, including:

  • Leadership development
  • Management and supervisory training
  • Skill building programs
  • Compliance training
  • Curriculum development


For more information about how Training and Development Solutions can help your organization meet current and future workforce challenges, call MariAnn Fisher at 925.249.9372, email, or visit the Training and Development Solutions website.

OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs

OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs enforce the whistleblower provisions of 22 federal statutes protecting employees who raise or report concerns about hazards or violations of various workplace safety and health laws.



An employer must not retaliate against an employee for engaging in activities that are protected under these laws. Protected activities may include: filing a report about a possible violation of the law with OSHA or other government agencies, reporting a concern about a possible violation of the law to the employer, reporting a workplace injury, illness, or hazard, cooperating with law enforcement, refusing to conduct tasks that would violate the law, or engaging in any other type of statutorily protected activity.


Learn More about worker protections, your rights under the law and how to file a complaint.

Did you know that Training and Development Solutions has a newly redesigned website featuring enhanced overviews of our wide range of services? Visit soon!


Training and Development Solutions

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

7600 Dublin Blvd., Suite 102 ● Dublin, CA 94568

925.249.9372 ●