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Safeguarding Your Organisation's Future With Competency-Based Succession Planning

Posted by Ngoc Doan on

On the 22nd of June, a seminar organised by HR Media and TRG International raised a controversial topic: “Safeguarding your organisation’s future with competency-based succession planning”. The main speaker of the event was Mr. Rick Yvanovich - Founder & CEO of TRG International.


Through the talk, Rick emphasised the importance of the succession planning as an integral part of the overall business strategy, how can it help business to answer questions as what they will look like three or five years from now, and which competencies the key people will need in order to bring the business’ vision to life.

Here are some key takeaways from Rick’s elaborate talk.

Succession planning vs. Replacement planning

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You can’t expect any of your employee to stay in one place forever. Once a person leaves his/her position, what organisation needs to do to prevent the negative impact from this loss, especially when the person holds the key position in your business? You definitely can’t leave the position vacant for too long; you have to choose whether to build from within or find an external replacement.

Read more: Build Succession Plan on Continuous Performance Management

Oftentimes, the replacement method is viewed as temporary, and the candidates may, or may not, be considered as a permanent unless they meet all of the requirements. While replacement plans are critically important to the business’ growth, these plans only address short-term needs. 

Companies, irrespective of their sizes, are slowly shifting to succession planning from replacement planning. The former involves envisioning all the vacancies that may arise in the near future as well as over the long term. It pays for a company to have such a system in place where the internal pool can be kept ready for promotions.

4 risks to mitigate with succession planning

When there’s a loss at a key position, the organisation has to face four leadership risks related to finding a replacement. Having a well-prepared succession planning can help the organisation to mitigate these risks. 

1 - Vacancy Risk: This is the risk of having the critical leadership positions left vacant for any period of time.  

2 - Readiness Risk: This is the risk of appointing under-developed, or unprepared, successors for the critical positions. This risk is especially detrimental when organisations do not pay attention to the preparation and development of their potential future leader.

3 - Deployment Risk: This is the risk of poor deployment or poor use of talent to execute the business strategy. This risk is particularly challenging as many organisations struggle with ensuring they have the right talent, at the right time, and in the right position.  

4 - Transition Risk: This is the risk of poor transitions – not taking the precautions to ensure that leaders are smoothly onboarded and transitioned into new roles.

Read more: What’s the Biggest Obstacle in Succession Planning?

Defining competency

When we select an individual for a particular position, we examine their K-S-A: knowledge, skill and abilities; in other words, the individual’s competence.

The competency framework also plays an important role in benchmarking your talents’ developmental journey, therefore, it should be well established in advance as a foundation of your organisation’s talent management strategy.


However, the process of evaluating one’s competency can be overwhelming. Thus, Rick suggested organisations to identify the business targets first and foremost, then narrow down the list of key positions prior to moving to the step of identifying the key competencies for such key positions.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What qualities do our people need to have?
  • What will our company look like 3 or 5 years from now?
  • How do we ensure that we have such people?

It’s best to establish a focus group to discuss and figure out the set KEY competencies for each of your required position.

Read more: Key Performance Indicators: Definition and examples

Starting with a competency framework

Competencies can be either technical or behavioural. Technical competencies reflect the knowledge required to perform a specific role. Behavioural competencies describe the KSAs that facilitate the application of technical knowledge to job-related behaviour.

A framework to improve leadership competencies

Leadership competencies are leadership skills and behaviours that contribute to superior performance. By using a competency-based approach to leadership, organisations can better identify and develop their next generation of leaders. However, the skills needed for a particular position may change depending on the specific leadership level in the organisation.

Read more: Must-Have Qualities of Leading Employers

 By using a competency approach, organisations can determine what positions, at which levels, require specific competencies. Researchers at the Centre for Creative Leadership have identified some essential leadership competencies that are consistent among organisations. They divide the overall structure into competencies for leading the organisation, leading self, and leading others.

 leadership competency

Competencies can be tested online

In the age of HR 4.0, no mistake is as detrimental as putting the wrong talent in a wrong position. This is where a psychometric-based Job Fit solution can come in handy for your HR department.

 Job Fit solution is a series of online assessments that measure the essential behavioural characteristics of your potential candidates and match them with your specific job requirements. The solution can also be used to match your internal candidates with the currently open role, provide coaching or suggestion to help individuals to improve their performances.

 At TRG International, we provide Job Fit solution along with a wide array of other psychometric assessment tools to help your business maximise your existing talents’ potentiality, match the right person to the right job, retain and duplicate your top performers, all to ensure a healthy growth for your business.

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Topics: Talent Management

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

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