Human Resource Succession Planning

Succession Planning
Succession Planning

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Human Resource Succession Planning

Human Resources Planning and Employee Relations

This paper explains why it is important for the human resources (HR) department in the healthcare organization to maintain objective and accurate records of staffs, and illustrates examples of formal and informal documentation.

Moreover, this paper describes the most important factor which ensures a proper legal termination of a worker and analyzes 2 main challenges faced by healthcare leaders today as they try to sustain the ethics of caring, justice and critique. Additionally, unionization is described from the viewpoint of the organization’s management as well as from the staff’s view on succession planning.

Importance of maintaining objective and accurate employee records

It is important to maintain objective and correct records of employees because it could protect the employer from possible court cases, penalties and fines. In essence, objective and accurate employee records will justify employment actions from selection to recruitment to termination of employment or retirement. It also supports HR objectives for instance promoting from within and succession planning (Jones, 2015).

When the employment of a worker comes to an end, employee records are vitally significant. If the company terminates a worker, documentation would provide justification for that decision. Employee dismissal pertaining to gross misconduct, policy infringements, and substandard performance require employee records to support the involuntary termination (Sims, 2014).

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Moreover, with accurate and objective employee records, it is possible for the employer to track employee wages, merit year-end bonuses, pay increases, as well as voluntary and mandatory deductions. As such, employee records are a vital aspect of an organization’s benefits and compensation structure. Furthermore, employee records facilitate decision making relating to promotion, transfer, redeployment and demotion.

It also allows the employer to comply with state laws and furnish information that relate to salaries, wages, employee turnover, absenteeism and accidents to government agencies (Jones, 2015). The consequences which might result from the lack of record keeping include litigation for not complying with the relevant state laws and regulations. Secondly, without employee records, the employer would lack justification for employee termination, promotion, demotion or pay rise/deduction (Lawler, 2011).

Formal and informal documentation in an employee file

An example of formal documentation that would be kept inside an employee file include resume, job application, employment contract or job offer letter, resume cover letter, benefits and compensation, job analysis records, records from formal counselling sessions, disciplinary action reports, employee self-assessments, copies of employee development plans or performance appraisal used, complaints from workmates or clients, commendations, and employee resignation letter.

Other vital documentation include the title of the staff member, job description and classification, attendances and leave-of-absence notices, demotion and/or promotion details, training as well disciplinary notices (Wolf, 2015). Maintaining formal documentation inside the personal file of an employee would protect the employer in that the employer would require a certain document in justifying decisions if an employee sued the employer. For instance, the employer may have to present the document in a court of law.  

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An example of informal documentation that would be kept inside an employee file includes details of any informal discussions with the employee about job performance or company policy. Instances in which the supervisor or human resources manager informally reminds the employee of company policies should be jotted down. The HR manager might find it really hard to recall the informal reminders as well as comments which prelude punitive action if he or she did not make notes at the time.

Rumours overheard or brought to the attention of the human resources manager must be jotted down, especially in the case of sexual harassment for which the employer is expected to investigate every rumour and complaint, in spite of how slight (Lawler, 2011). This would protect the employer in that they may serve as potential crucial evidence.

Most significant factor that will ensure effective legal termination

Termination of an employee refers to releasing of a worker against that worker’s will. The most important factor which would ensure an effective legal termination is having proper justification for the termination and this applies to both contract and at-will employees. For instance, an employee can be terminated for misusing or stealing trade secrets even if the employee was promised job security.

Moreover, an employee could be terminated during downsizing if there is documentation proving the employee’s poor performance. This documentation would provide proper justification for the termination decision (Smith, Boroski & Davis, 2012). In a downsizing situation, the most possible way that staff members could protect themselves from termination is to have an employment contract.

While workers hired under the at-will doctrine could be dismissed by the employer at any time and for whichever reason including downsizing, workers hired under a contract employment cannot be dismissed or terminated in that manner in a situation of downsizing. For contract employees, the terms of termination are specified within the employment contract and the employer’s failure to comply with the terms of the employment contract could result in a violation of contract claim or claim of wrongful against the employer (Smith, Boroski & Davis, 2012).

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Challenges faced by health care leaders

In upholding the ethics of caring, justice and critique, two main challenges faced by healthcare leaders include the following: first is ignoring ethics, and with this challenge, the leader runs the risk of organizational and personal liability in the more and more tough legal environment of today (Jones, 2015). The other challenge is balancing the needs for ethics with the needs of the healthcare organization and of healthcare personnel in the hospital.

Smith, Boroski and Davis (2012) pointed out that sometimes healthcare leaders find themselves in situations in which they feel compelled to compromise their professional ethics standards in order to meet the needs to the organization especially when the two are in conflict. Managers in healthcare organizations could balance the need for ethics with organizational and employee needs by providing proper leadership and instituting systems which facilitate ethical conduct within the healthcare organization.

Healthcare leaders should recognize their role in shaping ethics in the organization and take this chance to establish a climate which could strengthen the reputations and relationships upon which the success of their organizations are dependent (Berman-Gorvine, 2014).

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Outline of an effective succession planning process

The following is an outline of a succession planning process which would help in ensuring a smooth transition as management team members at the hospital start retiring. How to identity employees for advancement: in identifying staffs for advancement, the employer should consider whether or not the employee possesses the necessary mindset and aptitude to meet the longer term goals of the organization. The company should also look for exceptional staff members and ensure that the individual is actually motivated to assume the top job or for advancement (Sims, 2014).

Training and development programs: employee development needs should be identified. The organization should particular use individualized development plans which are focused on the exact needs of every worker. Other than the simple essentials of training and development, more advanced employee development should include action learning, special assignments, as well as executive coaching programs (Wolf, 2015).

The employer should use a combination of training and developing the current employees and external recruitment. Training strategies should be in alignment with the performance aspects as well as career ladder to achieve attainment needed for employee success. In essence, the organization should develop career paths for staffs which would facilitate the capacity of the company to hire and sustain top-performing workers.

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Mentorships: mentoring is a vital development tool for purposes of succession planning. To the protégé, mentoring is beneficial as it provides him or her with opportunities for learning, growing and advancing his/her career. Mentors offer insight and advice into the company. Mentoring is helpful in facilitating knowledge transfer and helps to groom leaders of the future.

Timeline for preparing leaders for their role: succession planning is often for two to five years or two to seven years period for an individual employee although it is a constant exercise for a company (Berman-Gorvine, 2014). As such, the organization should prepare potential leaders for their role continuously, but an individual employee can be prepared for a period of between 2-5 years or 2-7 years.

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From the employee’s perspective, unionization is important as it helps to protect their interests. Individually, a worker cannot do much to fight the employer’s abuse or alter the employer’s policies, but they can do this when they are in a labour union. Employers do not like this challenge to their authority (Lawler, 2011).

Employees prefer to join trade unions since unionization helps to increase the pay of unionized workers including their wages, compensation, benefits and salaries. Moreover, unionization allows employees to get generous health benefits from their employers than employees who are not unionized.

From the management’s perspective, unionization is not good at all. The management hates unionization particularly because labour unions force an employer to have less control. By unionizing, employees are able to gain power, organize, and limit the employer’s flexibility as well as the rules imposed by the employer.

In addition, the management do not like unionization as this can restrict the employer from dismissing an employee, even an employee who performs poorly (Jones, 2015). In addition, employers hate unionization since unions could compel the employer to execute policies which the employer considers as disadvantageous and harmful to the firm, for example labour unions can engage in collective bargaining.

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How HR can continue being a strategic partner in helping achieve organizational goals

Human resources department can continue to be a strategic partner in helping to accomplish the objectives of the company by ensuring that there is a direct link between the services, programs, procedures and policies they offer and the overall objectives of the organization. If there are no deliberate and clear connections, the human resource department would simply be a cost centre that is unappreciated and undervalued (Lawler, 2011).

Strategic human resources management (SHRM), by acting as a strategic partner, means that the HR department goes beyond administrative tasks like payroll processing. In essence, the HR professionals in the organization think more deeply and broadly, regarding the way that members of staff contribute to the success of the organization.  

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To sum up, it is vital to maintain objective and truthful records of staffs since it could protect the employer from possible court cases, penalties and fines. Formal documentation kept inside an employee file may resume, job application, title, compensation and benefits, and employment contract or job offer letter, and informal documentation may include any informal discussions with the employee as regards job performance or company policy. The most significant factor which would ensure an effective legal termination is having good justification for the termination.


Berman-Gorvine, M. (2014). Succession Planning Requires Forethought, Sensitivity. HR Focus, 91(6), 3-5.

Jones, K. (2015). HR Evolution: From Resolution to Revolution … and Beyond. Workforce Solutions Review, 6(5), 43-44.

Lawler, E. E. (2011). Celebrating 50 Years: HR: Time for a reset?. Human Resource Management, 50(2), 171-173. doi:10.1002/hrm.20420

Sims, D. M. (2014). 5 ways to increase success in Succession Planning. TD: Talent Development, 68(8), 60-65.

Smith, B. J., Boroski, J. W., & Davis, G. E. (2012). Human Resource Planning. Human Resource Management, 31(1/2), 81-93.

Wolf, S. E. (2015). How to Best Conduct CEO Succession Planning. (Cover story). Corporate Governance Advisor, 23(5), 1-4.

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