The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Setting the Pace With a Strategic Succession Planning Process

“How do you build a pipeline of talent and ensure you have the right people in your organization?” Betsy Garti, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Pace University

During the CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo 2013, Betsy Garti and Bob Lazer of Pace University shared with conference attendees a program that has provided a strategic, planned approach to leadership continuity at Pace University and has helped ensure that the right people are in the right positions when needed now and in the future.

HR (responsible for managing and facilitating the plan) began with an organizational review to ask and answer the question: Where are we today and where do we need to be tomorrow? The review took into account the future goals of the institution and helped emphasize the gaps that would need to be filled to move the institution forward.

As part of the plan implementation, select employees were identified as high performers and provided unique opportunities such as acceptance into the Fast Pace Leadership Program, special work assignments, focused coaching and 360 degree feedback opportunities.

Along the way, HR tracked metrics such as the Individual Development Plan completion rate of identified high performing employees, turnover of identified staff vs. non-identified staff and the number of positions filled by identified successors versus those filled by others.

The key lessons learned by Pace University were that:

  • The process takes longer than planned/expected;
  • Senior leadership needs to be visibly supportive;
  • Senior-level reporting and accountability is needed;
  • Scheduled follow‐up, monitoring and reporting is crucial; and
  • Compliance is not commitment.

How does your institution develop high performing employees? How have you measured success in your own talent management or succession planning program?