Canadian Retailer - July/August 2010 - (Page 24)
| HR Development
By Robert Price
On Sara Nathanson’s office wall hang photographs of manS agers at Aritzia stores across Canada. In a glance, Nathanson, r Director o Human Resources, can see store managers, rising ct r of stars, and vacancies across the company. stars When other managers enter her office to discuss staffing, Wh Nathanson and her colleagues will move the photos around the organization to see if they can find a better fit for each person’s skills. This is part of Nathanson’s succession planning. “Succession planning for us at Aritzia is the discipline of staffing the growth of our business,” says Nathanson. “Succession planning is not a one-time exercise. I do it every day just by staring at my wall.” Aritzia conducts company-wide plans each year and regional plans each quarter. In these planning sessions, Aritzia notes gaps in skills, examines upcoming talent, and identifies candidates to fill critical positions when the positions open. Succession planning influences Aritzia’s recruiting, training, performance management, and even remuneration—all aspects of the company’s growth strategy.
training them,” she says. “The person is always going to be loyal to their career first. Let’s not kid ourselves.”
The benefits of proactive sourcing at Hbc
After coming under new ownership in 2008, Hudson’s Bay Co. adopted a new succession plan strategy. Rather than developing talent solely within the organization, Hbc now searches the market for the talent they need to fill the company roster. Jennifer Pierce, Vice-President Talent Management at Hudson’s Bay Co., says Hbc calls succession planning a “proactive strategy”—not a “reactive replacement strategy”—that supports the growth plans of the various Hbc banners. Hbc develops detailed profiles of each position as they relate to the business strategy of each banner. As business strategies and job accountabilities change, Hbc reviews each position, reexamines the succession plan, reevaluates available talent, sources new talent, and modifies performance management tactics. Succession planning becomes a part of the business planning and performance management, and helps to define HR objectives and training needs. Murray-Leduc, National Succession and Performance Manager, Hbc, explains:“Succession planning becomes an input into the broader review [of the organization’s objectives] and identifies who could be in the succession plan.” Since adopting the proactive succession planning strategy, Hbc has seen better performance and lower turnover. Moving succession planning into the business planning cycles enable Hbc to constantly source new talent through different channels—including social media—and provide Hbc’s recruiters with the time to build the talent pipelines.
Succession Planning a Question of Leadership
Aritzia’s approach to succession planning—to treat succession planning as a part of the company’s growth strategy—makes the company something of an anomaly. A poll conducted at Retail Council of Canada’s 2010 Retail Human Resources Conference suggests that less than half of retailers have a formal succession plan. Sue Easby, President of InsightU, says the low status of succession planning speaks to the mentality of most retail leaders, whose roots are firmly in operations and numbers, and therefore cannot recognize the true value of succession planning, often resulting in it falling by the wayside. In fact, most retailers still see succession planning as a replacement strategy, something to enact when the leadership prepares to retire. “There’s no immediate ROI in succession planning, and it’s hard to prove the immediate ROI in developing people. It’s a long-term game plan,” says Easby. Easby offers another reason why retailers ignore succession planning—because retailers are reluctant to invest in developing people, people who may take their training to another organization. The notion that well-trained staff will leave the business, Easby says, is a red herring. “You’ll lose them if you’re not
24 | canadian retailer | july/august 2010 | retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer
Succession planning tactics
Nathanson says that succession planning is about getting “the right people with the right skills at the right time.” This means constantly looking at future needs and recruiting in anticipation of these needs. While the size and stage of an organization influences a succession plan, Nathanson identifies four tactics useful to a forward-thinking succession plan. 1. Realize that succession planning is a key component of business success. Without the right people or the right job descriptions—and without the time to find the right people—retailers will spend their time playing catch-up on their hiring.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - July/August 2010
Canadian Retailer - July/August 2010
In Your Best Interest
Retail: At Issue
Store Conference 2010
You Asked Us
Canadian Retailer - July/August 2010