The United States' population is aging, putting the workforce at risk of losing some of its most experienced workers to retirement. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 24 percent of the total U.S. workforce will be 55 or older by 2018, compared to 18 percent in 2008.
Supply chain management is one of the most vulnerable industries when it comes to this changing employment landscape. As the space quickly grows and evolves, hiring managers are recruiting talent of all experience levels to fill skills gaps across their organizations.
To keep up with the growing demand for supply chain leadership, companies need to have a succession plan that helps them identify and develop new leaders who can replace existing leaders as they transition out of the company. Unfortunately, most have no such plan in place. According to a recent study from the American Management Association, only 18 percent of managers and executives have a succession plan in place to respond to a sudden loss of key executives—not nearly enough to keep business productivity up as people retire, despite the added number of supply chain undergraduate and graduate programs.
Proactive succession planning and a thoughtful recruitment plan are vital to the long-term success of any organization. But before a company can even begin to put recruitment and development efforts into place, it needs to have a clear vision of what type of skills it needs. The following three steps can help with that process.
After laying this foundation, one of the most important steps you can take in creating a succession plan is to understand and further develop the strengths of your current staff. To accomplish this, consider taking the following steps:
While it's ideal to look internally, the truth is that sometimes you must go outside your organization to find the right person to lead your logistics or supply chain organization in the future. With senior leadership potentially approaching retirement, partnering with outside resources, such as a recruiting firm, can help you fill important roles. Here are some additional steps that can help you attract top talent.
Once you have attracted the attention of job seekers, you need to choose the right candidates and make sure they end up at your company. To weed out unqualified candidates from the outset, provide a detailed definition of the skills and experience needed for potential employees to excel at your company. This means outlining the day-to-day responsibilities of a particular role in addition to what will be needed for long-term success. It will help to look back to your succession plan during the interview process to understand the diverse traits a leader-in-training will need to someday take on a high-level role.
Finding the right talent can be difficult no matter the employment situation, but in today's candidate market, a best-fit candidate can be challenging to find. When you do find the right candidates, you will need to make them an appealing offer quickly or risk losing them to a competitor. Know the salaries in your area and what kinds of benefits packages your competitors are offering. To help understand what to offer potential employees, use tools like the Ajilon Salary Guide to understand how you are stacking up and what candidates are looking for.
Succession planning requires a long-term, thoughtful approach that is flexible and capable of responding to a quickly changing talent landscape. By using these best practices for monitoring employee skills and engaging outside talent, you will be able to build a team of great future leaders.