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Make Succession Planning a Board Priority

One-quarter of CUs still need a formal CEO succession plan.

September 08, 2010
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Q. What are succession plan best practices CUs should consider?

A. Examine the succession plan as part of the CEO's annual performance review and during each annual planning retreat. Use succession planning to increase diversity within management ranks with many attendant benefits (including compliance with equal protection and affirmative action laws). Boards must identify the talent needed to reach the credit union's full potential (e.g., a strategic plan). They also must have:

  • A recruiting plan ready for internal and external candidates;
  • Basic employment law training to avoid making mistakes during the interview and background check processes;
  • A sense of how much time it will take to fill the leadership role; and
  • A plan for interim leadership during that time.

In short, a credit union succession plan must cover forecasted departures (retirement being the most common), as well as emergency departures created by death, illness, or involuntary termination based on misconduct, for example.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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