In January 2022, three members of the Helbling team presented a live Lunch and Learn webinar to more than 100 ERAPPA (Eastern Region of APPA) members. Here are some key takeaways from the hour-long session titled, “Five Ways to Succeed in Succession Planning.”
In a previous blog post, we recently covered how to begin succession planning
. This second post in this series covers looking for talent and supporting the new leader once they have been identified.
1. Make the opportunity known internally and externally:
- Announce the pending retirement/departure.
- Draft a position description.
- Use inclusive, unbiased language.
- Consult HR and diversity manager/officer for assistance.
- Post and advertise the position.
- Utilize internal and external platforms.
- Reach general facilities professionals (APPA).
- Contact professional organizations (architecture, engineering, construction).
- Contact organizations that support historically underrepresented groups.
- Use mainstream platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed.
2. Approach potential internal candidates you may have overlooked:
- Consider number two leaders of the department.
- Consider those (with the appropriate qualifications) from other departments at the college, university, or school.
- Consider those from “sister schools” or within a state system.
- Consider those who manage other campuses and complexes, such as corporate, healthcare, and the military.
3. Whether candidates are from inside or outside the organization, conduct a fair and thorough evaluation:
- Use hiring rubrics or other evaluation tools to help mitigate bias in the decision-making process.
- Consult a third-party organization for an objective assessment of talent.
4. Have an interim solution:
- Leverage the opportunity when the current leader is away for vacation or business travel for top internal candidate(s) to have a trial run.
- If a retirement or departure is quickly approaching, consider temporary help.
- Compile a list of recently retired individuals from other organizations, independent contractors, and/or third-party management groups to step in until a successor is identified.
5. Support the successor:
- Provide and explain the organizational structure of the department and the institution. Document reporting relationships (to/from).
- Discuss the mission, vision, and goals of the department and the institution. Share campus plans.
- Cover expectations of leadership in the first month, quarter, and year.
- For an outside hire, provide training in computer applications and platforms used by the department.
- Publish and share a glossary of terms and acronyms.
- Schedule time for the new leader to meet direct reports and peers to learn more about their roles.
- When possible and appropriate, allow for overlap with the current leader so they can train their successor, emphasizing the transfer of knowledge and relationships.
- Continually evaluate the successor and the succession planning process as it applies to other positions within the department.
If a pending retirement or another departure has caused you to think about the challenges of replacing a facilities leader, please contact us
to connect with a Helbling search consultant.