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How L&D supports the leaders of tomorrow

Leveraging succession planning within L&D to build a healthy pipeline

By Adina Sapp, edited by Tim Harnett

Throughout all the changes to the workplace over the past several decades, it’s clear that the need to develop employees is something business leaders should take seriously. Results from LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report show that talent devel-opers, executives and people managers agree that providing resources to enable talent is crucial to the business. There is a consensus that learning and development programs are a necessary benefit to employees. Intangible priorities (job creation, career development, improving people’s lives) should be included as successful indicators of business performance.

While succession planning and talent pipeline creation could often be an end result of employee development, it may turn out to be a lengthy process. Identifying top talent early, readying candidates for promotion and then moving employees through jobs to prepare them for future opportunities could take years.

Today’s workers, however, may not remain with a company long enough for a slow-paced succession plan to succeed. With digital disruption looming among industries, succession planning must account for a future reality that may be entirely different than the present. The half-life of skills in the modern workplace continues to fall rapidly. Deloitte says that today, the half-life of a learned skill is just five years. Between employee turnover, declining longevity of skills relevance and market shifts, organizations appear to be changing so rapidly that a decades-long succession plan may not fit the ultimate direction of the business.

Whether or not one follows a long-term succes-sion plan, employees who have been singled out for leadership roles may still need training and support. How can organizations fill future leadership positions in this environment of fast change and job mobility? Is traditional succession planning a thing of the past? Professors Richard Wagner and John DiBenedetto of Capella Univer-sity recently explored this topic with Chief Learning Officer. Their decades of combined leadership experience and expertise offer insight into how succession planning has changed over time, how organizations should weigh the risks of internal promotions versus external hiring and how L&D could contribute to organizational success by assisting succession planning initiatives.

Invest in your employees

“You cannot undervalue the need for professional growth and development,” DiBenedetto says. “When you look at the succession management process, that plays a huge role.” According to a LinkedIn survey, 94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

However, there is potential risk in investing time and money in employees who are likely to leave. “Just looking at exit interview data shows it’s a big problem and there is high risk in the groomed employees leaving,” Wagner says. “It’s different in each industry, but it’s rampant, particularly in the younger generations, because they have expecta-tions."

Investing in employees with training and development.

“One of the things I’m finding today is there is more and more movement of people across industries,” Wagner adds. “Sometimes that’s incredibly success-ful because they bring those core competencies of leadership and emotional intelligence with them.”

The reality is many emerging leaders may move to other companies. Sometimes, then, the best choice is to hire externally. This could potentially yield great results, like bringing in fresh perspectives and preventing stagnation of thought within an organization’s talent pool.

On the other hand, when you develop people for those future leadership positions, younger workers might become more likely to stick around because they see they have potential to grow. Internal development of talented employees is a great way for organizations to groom leaders who understand and fit the company’s culture, and it also sends a good message to the rest of the team that the organization is committed to their future. According to Deloitte, 83 percent of surveyed executives indicated that ‘careers and learning’ were ‘important or very important.’

Capella University knows it’s important for you to find ways to invest in your employees with training and development. That’s why they take a collaborative and consultative approach to uncover and design learning solutions just for you. The shorter- term Capella Applied Leadership Series uniquely combines personal-, people- and results-oriented leadership focus areas, and enforces immediate application in real-life work situations to prepare your leaders. In addition, Capella has a wide variety of industry-aligned graduate and undergraduate degree programs and works with you to provide special pricing so your employees can pursue a degree for low to no cost.

Visit capella.edu/retain or call 855.203.0655 to learn more about how the Capella Applied Leadership Series can support the development of emerging leaders with a tailorable, scalable, online platform.

1 Engage Customers, Channel Partners, And Associations In Extended Enterprise Learning. Forrester. (2015).

Capella Applied Leadership Series logo.

The Capella Applied Leadership Series is a competency-based, job-relevant training solution for your company’s leaders with the flexibility your employees and your organization require. The series is built to provide a self-paced, interactive leadership experience on a fully online platform where learners can grow their skills within the context of their unique work demands—anywhere, anytime. It can also be tailed to your business to represent your unique brand and employees’ learning styles. The program’s assessment-based model, allows you to easily track how well the program is working, and see how your employees translate new skills into immediate on-the-job impact.
Phone: 855.203.0655
Email: capella.leadership@capella.edu
Website: capella.edu/retain