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									    Succession and Continuity of Operations Planning & Implementation for
                                 Your Agency1

Once any agency reviews its retirement statistics, it will become clear that in the not-so-
distant future is:
    1.) A significant loss of management and supervisory positions; and, in some cases,
    2.) Whole groups of like-titled employees – should they all decide to retire
For some agencies, this could be the case in less than 5 years from now.

Additionally, in some professional fields, there is also a shrinking pool of qualified job
candidates available for hire. Action steps need to be taken now – this includes succession
planning and continuity of operations planning. Understanding the level of impact to our
operations is difficult to grasp or comprehend, but it is obvious that we must start
strategically planning, beginning with the identification of our needs. We must then begin
to implement those actions that can insure the retention of institutional knowledge. This
    1.) Documentation of business processes
    2.) Cross-training of staff, and

 This document was created in collaboration with Cheryl Malerba, Department of Transportation, Robert McGarry,
Department of Motor Vehicles, Claire Nolin, Ph.D., Office of Policy and Management, with review by Department of
Administrative Services for CT Training and Development Network, December 13, 2007 (rev. 12/27/07)

   3.) The identification of core competencies and skills development to grow a pool of
       desirable candidates to fill agency staffing gaps.

After meeting with numerous agencies to discuss what they were doing with regards to
succession planning and continuity of operations and to identify a promising “plan of
attack”, what we found was that many agencies are in the same situation with little or no
resources to affect a plan. Each agency has different business strategies and customer
base, whether it be a Department of Transportation (DOT), an Office of Policy and
Management (OPM), Department of Labor (DOL), or a Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV), so we are not suggesting we all have exactly the same needs. However we are
suggesting that Organizational and Staff Development Units, Planning Units, whoever
you have for strategic planning in your agency, need to begin and begin now with a
strategic planning process for the purpose of helping management plan and implement
strategies for continuity of operations.

While the tone of this document is one of immediacy, it should be well noted that
continuity of operations is an integral part of good business planning and health. This is a
continuous process not a once in awhile process!

At a minimum, we need to:

       Identify staff for the primary function of assisting managers with identifying skills
        and knowledge gaps in their units
       Help managers develop and implement strategic development plans for their staff
        for continuity of operations
       Coach manager’s on what is permissible utilization of staff within the union
        contracts and personnel policies and procedures
       Provide on the job training, etc. to meet the job skill gaps
       Find quality leadership and management programs to continue growing a cadre of
        well trained leaders
       Encourage tuition reimbursement programs to better qualify competent staff for
        upward mobility opportunities

It has been our collective experience that some managers (while well intended) become
burdened with their current job duties and responsibilities, and therefore these sorts of
necessary but tedious planning activities take a back seat. Ultimately managers look to
Human Resources (HR) to “save” them. It should be each agency’s intention to give do-
able planning tasks that allow for success and to give support and guidance so that
managers are gently (or not so gently) pushed towards the bigger goal of an actionable
plan. We need to give management the time and support to evaluate what they need to do

Connecticut Training and Development Network                     December 27, 2007

to stay successful. A fully supported agency initiative gives them the ability to take those
necessary steps.

How do you do this?
First of all, be careful when reading outside reports on succession planning. Why? Well,
for many reasons, starting and ending with extraordinary resources and often times, no
union rules. However, keeping in mind government issues, there is still lots of useful
information to be gained from reading these reports.

Now let’s stop and begin by setting objectives based on real resources and on some of the
union rules and HR policies.

Objective 1: Develop a pool of qualified candidates

In state Government we are not able to pre-select successors for soon to be vacant
positions. We must think in terms of “pools of qualified candidates”. Qualified
candidates are those with the necessary skills and abilities in the correct job series to fill a
higher level position. The more people we have ready (prepared) to fill vacant positions
the better our options in selecting the best qualified candidate for the job when it becomes

Objective 2: Identify tasks that can be performed by non-managerial personnel

Part of our planning needs to include what is allowable in a union environment in terms of
continuity strategies such as cross training, work rotation, stretch assignments and the
like. Know that union employees should never be assigned managerial duties – not ever.
Understanding however, that if you take the time to break down a manager’s day to day
tasks there is more than likely many tasks that can be identified as non-managerial duties
that can be done by union employees.

If you do implement rotational opportunities and cross training that are within employees’
job specifications range there is no problem at all – this is totally acceptable.

Objective 3: Know what the rules are for “stretch assignments”

Connecticut Training and Development Network                        December 27, 2007

If you give stretch assignments for the purpose of career growth, continuity of operations
and for office back ups – remember:

   1) These are assignments that are at the most difficult or complex within the
      employees’ current job classification
   2) It is important that you limit the percentage of time any individual is working
      above their job spec to a reasonable amount of time that can be worked into the
      employee’s schedule

Most employees appreciate you giving them these training opportunities, but you need to
be mindful of fairness and of not abusing their willingness to learn and grow. Also, if you
have a group of like-titled employees, it’s important to be fair with training opportunities
and that you offer them equally to all. One way is to announce the opportunity and allow
those interested to sign up. If you can only train one person at a time, the tried and true
protocol is to allow the opportunity to the most senior person first and then on down the
seniority line. The goal with this type of training is to develop a pool of qualified
candidates so that when needed you have real competition for the position(s) to be filled.

Be sure that you don’t pre-judge someone’s abilities or limitations in determining who gets
trained. Apply a consistent standard that is fair. Monitor performance and let that factor
be your guide as to an individual’s capability.

Objective 4: Identify those options that your agency can realistically pursue

Your agency may or may not have the necessary staff to roll out a full succession or
continuity of operations plan. You may have to scale down what you do. The key is to be
able to identify what you can do versus paralysis (doing nothing) because you can’t do all
that ideally should be done.

So where do you start with all of this?

Objective 5: Identify critically affected units, prioritize their order

Start by running retirement reports. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is
able to assist you in identifying what statistics you need to evaluate critical areas in your

Connecticut Training and Development Network                      December 27, 2007

agency. Note: You need to have specific HR security roles in CORE-CT to access reports
so you may need to turn to others in your agency to meet this need. Your HR Office may
be able to assist you.

Now, using those reports, identify those areas which will be most adversely affected by
retirements. Look at the time frames – how soon can people leave? Now? In two years?,
Five years? Look at the job titles, are they one of a kind or is a whole group of like titled
people eligible to go? These are your warning signs of what areas need attention first.

Please keep in mind that not everyone is going to leave just because they are eligible to
retire. Circumstances in each person’s life many times help them determine when it will
be the right time to retire. We should be mindful not to push people on these sorts of
decisions and be aware that there are laws rightfully protecting these employees’
employment rights. In fact, retention of good, competent employees may well become the
strategy for the next ten to twenty plus years. Once that knowledge walks out the door,
unless you have implemented some of the strategies discussed herein, your agency will
experience a significant loss.

Objective 6: Identifying planning strategies for identified gaps

Sit down with the managers of the most critically effected units first. Have them identify
their most critical services.

Next, create a matrix listing those essential services and identify who currently performs
those services.

What you are looking to identify is redundancy in the people who can perform those
identified services and that, even with retirement, you will have at least one person who
remains that can perform the function. More than likely, you will find there are gaps.

The matrix you develop will help you to identify where the agency is in okay shape as
well as where gaps exist.

Objective 7: Develop a plan of action for each critical service or position to meet the
agency needs

To create a plan of action to meet agency needs you must have an awareness of different
strategies. Some of those include:

Connecticut Training and Development Network                       December 27, 2007

   1) On the job training – someone with the right title can be trained to fill the void
   2) Cross-training or back-up training. Someone of a related title or position can come
       over to be trained on a temporary or as needed basis until such time that the
       position can be filled
   3) Someone of a higher level (may be management) is trained to cover the gap for the
       interim while maintaining their other functions or with re-assignment of their non-
       managerial duties to lower (or union) levels.
   4) Have the current person performing the duties create a step by step manual so that
       “anyone” can back them up without the benefit of someone there to help them
   5) Have the employee create a twelve month calendar to note any date sensitive
       responsibilities that occur over a year’s time. Have them create a list of those other
       items that might come up on a more irregular basis that the unit should be aware of
       as well.
   6) Allow for limited stretch assignments which gives employees the benefit of career
       development without breaking union roles of state policies – be sure to offer
       opportunity to all eligible candidates – do not select successors (the interview and
       selection process is for that)
   7) In-service training – send people to classes that will help them to be better able to
       assume new duties – report writing, meeting planning, project management, Core-
       CT skills, etc…
   8) Utilize managerial or leadership programs to bring along individuals
   9) Formal education – sometimes necessary to fill a gap (i.e. professional engineers
       license is required to complete a duty). This is done off hours and funds may be
       available through the State’s tuition reimbursement programs
   10) And, of course – sometime it is necessary to recruit new employees for key titles

By developing a plan upfront or just in time, you can avoid a myriad of issues come
retirement time of critical positions. Further, this sort of development initiative, while
consuming, brings the reward of a well trained staff that feels valued. It prevents panic
when everyone else walks out the door. Most importantly it provides that pool of
qualified candidates so desperately needed by your agency.

For more information concerning succession planning and continuity of operations be sure
to visit the Department of Administrative Services website, Strategic Resources

Connecticut Training and Development Network                     December 27, 2007

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