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How Organizations Can Bridge the Talent Gap in Succession Planning

Knowledge of the generations making up an organization’s workforce can be helpful for hiring and retaining nonprofit employees.
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There are multiple generations present in the modern workplace, each with unique expectations and perspectives of work. As these expectations continue to transform, it is important to understand how generational differences can affect your team and company culture. Workers from different generations bring different life experiences to the workplace. This can be particularly challenging for managers attempting to lead teams with different work backgrounds and skill sets. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is not just about how to have high-performing employees. It also is about making sure everyone has a satisfying experience at work. Failure to do so may result in poor succession planning.

In our last FORsights article, “Your Role in Succession Planning on a Nonprofit Board,” Dan Prater stated, “It is no secret that baby boomers are leaders in the nonprofit industry. And it is no secret that this group is leaving en masse. Approximately 75 million of them are expected to retire by 2030.” With this anticipated transition of baby boomers into retirement, organizations will be left with a younger generation of employees eventually stepping into leadership roles.

In developing a strategic succession plan, organizations should carefully consider the needs of their emerging workforce. Once organizations have attracted the right talent, they should have a solid plan in place for retaining them as well. There must be intentionality to create organizational sustainability. For example, organizational leaders should consider:1

  • Improving budget transparency: Budgets have always been a topic of conversation when recruiting within the nonprofit sector. Promoting a working environment that relates to the beliefs and values of an organization has a strong pull for retention. Studies have shown that today’s working generations are willing to take pay cuts for a culture that aligns with their values. While offering the best compensation and benefits can attract the right talent, the organizational values also are highly considered. Budget transparency coupled with value alignment can be viewed favorably by employees.
  • Embracing real-time feedback: Companies that are most successful at retaining top talent are those that understand the importance of setting clear targets and providing regular and structured feedback. These interactions can enhance the employees’ sense of belonging and engagement within an organization, empowering them to have control of asking for feedback and conversations around professional development. While it is typical to perform annual reviews, the current generation wants to know how they are performing much more regularly. They value honest, real-time feedback containing highlights of positive contributions or any improvements on key competencies.
  • Encouraging technological innovation: Advances in technology create new and often better ways to deliver a message and promote an organization’s brand image, empowering employees to be brand ambassadors. The current workforce are digital natives, highly capable at using technology and social media platforms. Growing up utilizing the latest technology is a normalized way of life, and working for employers that provide robust technology systems is ideal. Integrating technology into organizational strategy helps engage the employee, which also can be used as an advantage for employee recruitment through building a strong brand image. Technological investments also can help make collaboration more seamless by digitizing systems and processes.
  • Providing flexible work schedules: If organizations can offer flexible work arrangements, this can attract top talent. As the modern concept of work continues to evolve, flexibility remains a top priority for many workers. This flexibility has the impact of creating a sense of higher job satisfaction while also creating a sense of trust and autonomy, potentially resulting in improved productivity. It is imperative to recognize the diverse needs and responsibilities of employees as organizations begin to embrace flexible work arrangements. This idea of flexibility can create a high-performing work environment that caters to the changing dynamics of the workforce.
  • Committing to development and training: Investing in professional development is an immensely effective way to show staff that they are important and your organization cares about their career advancement. Professional development can open employees up to new opinions, ideas, and modes of thinking, thus preparing them for long-lasting career growth within the organization. This is especially true at nonprofit organizations focused on improving the lives of others. If employees at nonprofit organizations are well-trained and have access to the information they need to do an excellent job, they are more likely to succeed in advancing the organization’s overall mission.

Preparing for Tomorrow’s Generation of Leaders?

As the job landscape continues to evolve over the years, so will the needs of future generations of workers. For employers to successfully recruit and retain new talent, which is integral to succession planning, commitment to these five key areas should be an imperative.2 Today’s workforce is looking to connect with an organization which gives them a sense of purpose and meaningful work. The valuable skills of these new generations of workers should be considered and leveraged, offering them opportunities to have a voice in the organization as future leaders. As these generations continue to shape the workforce of the future, their passion, creativity, and commitment can drive significant positive change within their organization.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to a Forvis Mazars professional.

  • 1“How to Attract a Millennial & Gen Z Workforce,”
  • 2“The Top 5 Things Millennials Want in the Workplace,”

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