Hiring, Succession Planning and Other Challenges with Economic Recovery

In recent months, the US has gone through somewhat of an economic recovery, with jobless numbers dropping considerably and the dollar performing better than it has for a long time. Much of the economic uncertainty has been washed away by sectors such as manufacturing, with companies being able to provide work by bringing their operations back to the US rather than outsourcing to cheaper markets such as China.

Due to economic recovery, firms in the US are far more likely to start hiring again. But with the employment of newcomers and dealing with talent, as well as succession planning, come new challenges that firms will need to address.

When economic recovery comes around, more jobs will become available within companies, and it is probable that this will lead to new positions opening higher in the business with many firms looking to expand, meaning that succession planning, whereby individuals are readied to step up when positions become available, is vital.

However, it was reported last year in SHRM that the number of companies which had strategic planning systems in place had actually reduced over the last five years. In 2006, the number of firms with such programs amounted to around 29 percent.

By the same time in 2011 however, no doubt a result of economic downturn after the peak hiring period of 2006, just 23 percent of companies in the US had a formal strategic planning system in place.

This means that once economic recovery comes around, firms must start to look at quickly implementing the system of succession planning so that they know they have people to step up to positions if and when they become available.

Evren Esen, manager, Survey Research Center at SHRM, said: "Succession planning has significant strategic implications for organizations and should not be put on the back burner, especially during times of economic volatility."

Now that companies do have economic recovery as a consideration in their planning for the future, it is the case that they begin looking into succession planning. This goes through a series of different stages such as: identifying those who are key performers in the company and can be looked at for future promotion, making sure those people are ready to make the step up to the next stage, and training them so that they can seamlessly fit. This final stage is vital, as the seamless transition is one of the key reasons for the implementation of the process.

However, there are also serious challenges that can exist with trying to bring this type of talent management process to the forefront for an HR department.

First off, it can simply be an issue prevalent in any company that the talent required in order to make the step up to the next level just does not exist within the current workforce.

A second issue, particularly problematic when looking at times of economic recovery, can be the fact that retention of highly performing staff can be difficult. When a country is going through economic recovery, it is probable that most companies will be returning to positivity and seeking to hire as a result, so people may be sought out and even started on a succession planning program, only to later leave for another job. In this case it is HR staff's job to make sure they manage talent well, dealing with the staff member in such a way that they wish to stay and move on with their job.

Other problems which can exist include the likes of an unclear pathway mapping out the potential career of an employee and the failure to look at a long term plan for the company, leading to not having enough, or having too many people ready to make the step up.