ShareKnowledge Blog

How a SharePoint LMS supports training and mentoring for tomorrow’s leaders

Amber Rasmussen October, 2014
succession planning

Talent Development for Succession Planning

A recent survey conducted by the American Management Association showed that only 14 percent of those surveyed felt their companies were prepared to deal with the sudden loss of key senior managers. The business landscape is changing and now is the time to prepare tomorrow’s leaders. This blog will explain how a SharePoint LMS can complement talent development for succession planning.

What would you do in your organization if a key employee resigned, fell ill or had to be fired tomorrow? Would you be prepared? Succession planning is acknowledging that staff will not always be with your organization indefinitely and a plan and process for addressing these changes have been put in place.

There are many reasons to have a succession plan in place. The most important reason, of course, is that we rely on staff to carry out our missions, provide services and meet our organization's goals.

Here are some more sobering statistics:

  • Vacancies in senior or key positions are occurring in numerous organizations simultaneously and demographics indicate there are statistically fewer people available to fill them.
     
  • Baby boomer retirements are on the rise just at the time when the economy is growing and increasing the demand for senior management expertise.
     
  • There is no emerging group of potential employees on the horizon as in past generations (i.e. baby boomers, women entering the workforce, large waves of immigration).
     
  • Many organizations eliminated middle manager positions during restructuring in the 1980s and 90s and no longer have this group as a source to fill senior level vacancies.
     
  • Younger managers interested in moving up do not have the skills and experience required because they have not been adequately mentored. This is because middle managers, who would normally perform this type of coaching role, were eliminated.

So, as you can see, the luxury of “cherry-picking” the “best-of-the-best” from within, or without, is a decreasingly viable option.

But why is succession planning so important? It supplies:

  • A means of ensuring the organization is prepared with a plan to support service continuity when the executive director, senior managers or key people leave
     
  • A continuing supply of qualified, motivated people (or a process to identify them), who are prepared to take over when current senior staff and other key employees leave the organization
     
  • An alignment between your organization's vision and your human resources that demonstrates an understanding of the need to have appropriate staffing to achieve strategic plan
     
  • A commitment to developing career paths for employees which will facilitate your organization's ability to recruit and retain top-performing employees and volunteers
     
  • An external reputation as an employer that invests in its people and provides opportunities and support for advancement
     
  • A message to your employees that they are valuable

The absence of a succession plan can undermine an organization's effectiveness and its sustainability. Without a succession planning process, an organization may not have a means of ensuring that the programs and services that are crucial to its operation are sustained beyond the tenure of the individual currently responsible for them.

A well-developed succession planning process increases the retention of superior employees because they recognize that time, attention and skill development is being invested in them for the purpose of career development. When you continue to challenge and reward talented employees, you eliminate their need to seek opportunities elsewhere.

One of the biggest challenges to succession planning is inadequate training and development resulting in an employee that is not prepared for a promotion.

A SharePoint LMS excels at training and mentoring for talent development

Two components to great succession planning are training and mentoring which happen to be where a SharePoint LMS shines.

TRAINING

First and foremost, a SharePoint LMS excels as a content management tool so it is prime for uploading training material for talent development.

Key advantages include:

  • Content is placed in a central repository.
  • Learners can search, sort and filter for existing content.
  • Training content is locked while being edited.
  • Metadata can be leveraged at a document level. Metadata is also available for any training graphics and/or video.
  • Version history is maintained. It tracks successive iterations of training content as trainers create, review, edit and approve content.
  • Workflows orchestrate the progress of training materials through the stages of development, collaboration, editing, finalizing and approval.

Using SharePoint as an LMS, you can configure a site specific to talent development. This collaborative feature offers a calendar that syncs with Outlook so leaders can schedule regular mentoring meetings and/or job shadowing with potential successors. In addition, there is a task list with assignments that can be given to future job candidates to help develop their knowledge and expertise. The discussion section also enables lively conversation between teacher and student.

MENTORING

SharePoint’s enhanced social features offer a multitude of ways to communicate and collaborate between leaders and successors.

With a SharePoint MySite, you’re provided with a single location to manage all of the documents, content and tasks that you have in any site in your organization. You can also present content and documents to other people, which is great for mentoring, as well as create workspaces, provide information about yourself to other people, and learn about the status of your colleagues.

MySite presents lists of memberships, such as distribution lists, and shows you how you can share those lists with other people. My Site displays a list of your colleagues and an organization hierarchy diagram to show your position within your immediate team. When other people visit your My Site, they can quickly see what they have in common with you — colleagues whom you both know, memberships that you share, and the first manager whom you both share.

Community sites are a great way to foster talent development as well. Communities promote open communication and information exchange by enabling people to share their expertise and seek help from others who have knowledge in specific areas of interest. There is also the ability to assign gifted badges to specific members to visually indicate that the member is recognized as a specific kind of contributor in the community, such as an expert or a moderator. Each community contains information about member and content reputation, which members earn when they actively post in discussions, and when their content is liked, replied to, or marked as a best answer.

Take talent development one step farther with ShareKnowledge

A SharePoint LMS is a great starting point for talent development for succession. However, you can take it up a notch by implementing an LMS that is based on SharePoint like ShareKnowledge.

ShareKnowledge is not only integrated with SharePoint but built on top of it, functioning as one of its components. Trainers can easily upload training material in ShareKnowledge directly from SharePoint, eliminating the transfer of info from one system to another.

Learning is completely tailored in ShareKnowledge. For talent development purposes, you can create a “Leadership Development” series of training that can be required and/or optional in the training path.

The learner can be assigned a high-level leader to communicate with on a regular basis to answer questions and provide insight. Tasks can also be assigned that are tied to this ongoing meeting. The leader can also take on a manager role and assign certain courses to his learner. This may include writing, team management, speaking or emotional intelligence as an example. For additional mentoring, ShareKnowledge bundles in a “future leaders” private social forum where all of those participating in this type of training can discuss topics and answer each other’s questions.

ShareKnowledge has comprehensive reporting capabilities so it makes it easy to pull transcripts about future successors when considering them for leadership roles.

Without having a talent development for succession plan in place, your organization could possibly see its greatest assets walk right out the door. A SharePoint LMS can assist with preparation for leadership succession. Its superb content management capabilities combined with enhanced social features make the process stress free for trainers. For additional enhancement to a talent development program, a system like ShareKnowledge can offer tailored learning programs to fit any organizational need.

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