Five Simple Steps to Turn Succession Planning into Building Team Success

Five Steps to a Staff Skills Gap Analysis

What is your organization doing to intentionally hone staff skills in areas that are organization gaps? Do you know what your gap areas are?

We are all looking for ways to further develop and invest in our team.  We want greater retention, and we know that many executives plan to retire in the coming years.  A skills gap analysis is a great way to do succession planning while also investing in your team.

The process is five simple steps and requires only time spent to plan.  If you would like a simple workbook to follow the steps, it is here.

Identify key positions: The CEO/Executive Director is certainly key for the organization and should be on this list. However, unless you are a very small organization, there are other positions that if there were turnover, would drastically impact your operations.  Those most important to identify are the ones most specialized when it comes to recruitment, or so unique to your operations that it would take a long time for anyone to learn.  For example, the person overseeing your finances is key, but finance is also a skill set that is more easily recruited and has fairly standard practices. However, if a director of multiple programs left it would take a long time for that person’s knowledge of each program and processes to be regained after turnover. So, ask yourself: What positions have oversight that would be especially hard for any person to step into and thrive within a few months? What positions require skills or personal attributes that are generally lacking across team members? Is there any one position that if turnover took place, key processes or services in the organization would need to temporarily cease?

2. Identify the key skills needed for each position: After identifying the positions, look at the job description for each role and think about what the person does day to day.  Make a list of the top five skills that are key to success in that position.

3. Identify any skill gaps in those currently in the position? Part of retaining individuals in their current position is ensuring that they have the support needed to thrive in their roles. Before considering who might be able to grow into this role, look at the person currently in it.  Does s/he have all of these key skills? Which ones could be further developed?

4. Identify your best succession candidates. Who in a different position has the closest skill set to what is needed? What does that person lack?  You already have team members with many of these skills, but often they will lack one or two of the five.  Sometimes they are already working closely to the position identified, but they may also be in an entirely different part of the organization.  Who has the best potential for being grown into this role in the next year? For the most likely candidate, which skills does s/he need to hone?

5. Create a development plan in partnership with the team member. If the current person in the role has some skills that need honing, start here. Discuss the skills you have identified, make sure s/he agrees, and agree together on an area where she could further grow.  For someone you want to prepare for the role, identify the skills needed and discuss together where s/he is strong and where there is room for growth. Make sure s/he has interest in developing in this way and a willingness to support the organization in this way if needed. For both situations, define a support plan to invest in their growth.  While creating the plan, remember that the Center for Creative Leadership suggests that good staff development will be 70% be on the job training, 20% be coaching and 10% be coursework /training. This is in keeping with adult learning principles, and will help your development plan to succeed!

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