Written by
Steve Hewitt

Published
02 Dec 2015

Find tomorrow's leaders today

02 Dec 2015 • by Steve Hewitt

With rising global competition, an increasingly fast change of technology pace and expectation a new and disruptive working environment is emerging. This has an impact on what type of leader is needed in order to navigate the choppy waters of what seems to be the digital storm. These leaders often have to be entrepreneurial, goal-focused and able to plan iteratively to ensure that their business aligns with changing customer requirements. They also need to ensure that staff have bought into them and they are all pulling in the same direction. 

However, many companies struggle to do this. According to a 2015 independent research study of 840 senior HR leaders, conducted by Loudhouse and commissioned by Lumesse, nearly three quarters (74%) identified leadership succession and the speed of development as their primary internal challenges. 

HR leaders can build a long-term strategy for succession planning to ensure that the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time – to innovate, develop and service the business. If they fail to do this now, they may quickly lose competitive advantage and be less able to adapt to future market challenges.

Identify leaders in a disrupted workplace:

Understand the priority skill needs for the business 
Whether from a global or local perspective, leadership needs to reflect both the cultural and practical leadership skills required for the business’s current and future demands. Potential leaders should include those who show an enthusiasm for the unique and specific needs that the business will have in the future.

Review job roles
Reviewing old job role summaries and updating them to reflect the new skills and tools required in leadership roles will be important, especially in businesses with flatter hierarchies where there is a focus on more technical skills, rather than building employees into leaders and managers. That said, many leadership roles still require people management skills, so job roles must include guidance on soft skills.

Build a framework for calibration and collaboration
Once you have defined the profile of your future leaders, use an integrated succession management tool to assess and calibrate the current strength of your workforce. Using dedicated technologies to collaboratively map your global talent pool with peers across functions, countries and regions to identify high potential pools and unrealised talent gaps.

Track learning and progression
Having identified suitable internal candidates, organisations can use clever learning management software to monitor and track the progression and learning of key skills by those in their succession pipeline. E-learning portals are particularly good at this, especially if they offer learning courses in a self-service manner. This allows HR to see who is self-motivated enough to learn without being pushed. These types of people often have great skills for motivating a team.

Feed into L&D programmes
Once priority skills – both soft and hard – are identified for leadership roles, creating bespoke learning courses on how employees can develop these as part of their overall L&D programme is key. Course materials can be created internally or with external experts to help upskill employees across the board. Used in conjunction with e-learning portals, this will also help to monitor who achieves the most from the course material.