Succession Planning

Over the next five years the City of Fredericksburg expects to lose a large number of highly trained, knowledgeable and experienced managers and skilled personnel in our organization due to retirements. This will impact the City in many different ways including the loss of knowledge and experience throughout the City organization. It is critical that we recognize this loss and develop a plan for filling these positions with a focus on internal promotions when feasible.

A key element in any organization is institutional knowledge at all levels of employees including people who know how and why past decisions were made. Much of this critical information can be lost when key personnel retire unless a succession plan is developed to capture this knowledge. In addition, it is important for the City to hire people with the necessary skills, abilities and education that are needed to continue to provide quality services.

The City of Fredericksburg has hired a number of very talented and qualified employees over the past 5-10 years. A number of these individuals are likely motivated to move up within the organization and serve as future managers and leaders. The identification and training of these key personnel so that are positioned for future management and leadership positions will play a major role in the future progress of the City of Fredericksburg.

Reasons for developing a succession plan for the City of Fredericksburg include:
• 52% of the workforce in the United States is between 55-65 years of age and will retire within the next 5 years.
• Baby Boomers who currently serve in the majority of leadership and management positions are declining at a rapid pace in the workforce.
• In the City of Fredericksburg, six out of the ten department heads are expected to retire in the next five years.
• A large number of City employees are over 55 years of age with many of these employees likely to retire within the next 5-10 years. Some of these employees are in supervisory positions.

Based upon these factors, the following succession plan will be implemented to ensure that the City is prepared with a quality staff necessary to continue to provide quality services. It should be kept in mind that this document is a work in progress. It will be reevaluated every 2-3 years and updated based upon the changing needs of the City organization. This Plan should be shared with all City employees so that they understand our commitment to their career development and to assisting them with future promotional opportunities. If any employee has a question about this Plan, they should contact either the City Manager of Human Resources Director.

Step 1-Needs Assessment (January-March)
During the period from January-March, 2016 the City will complete a staffing needs assessment for each City department. This will focus on the next five years (2016-2020) and will include identification of all employees within each department who are anticipated to retire within this period. It will also include any new staffing positions that are anticipated that the City will add during this same five year period. This effort will be coordinated by the City Manager and Human Resources Director with participation by each department head.

Once each position that will be needed by 2020 is identified, a listing of the skills, training, experience and other requirements for each position will be listed. This includes computer skills and other technical aspects of the job that will be required. The job descriptions for these positions will be reviewed and revised to ensure that it includes all of the requirements necessary.

Step 2-Identification of Future Leaders (April-May)
The next step in the succession plan will be to identify future leaders who may be interested and qualified to move into supervisory/leadership positions within the next five years. It is important that all current employees be involved in this process to ensure that every employee is fairly considered.

In considering the future potential of our employees for future supervisor/leader positions, several key issues and questions will be considered. How long does the employee plan to work for the City? Do they have the passion and vision for the organization? Are they currently identified to be leaders within their team, crew or division? Are they content with their current position or do they aspire for promotional opportunities? What are their values and do these values meet our organizational values? Responses to these questions will help to identify the interested, qualified and motivated individuals who will be included in the City’s succession plan.

Following this process, there may be some of our future staffing needs that cannot be met by promotion of current City employees. The City is a relatively small organization and it should be recognized that not all positions can be filled from current employees. Some of the positions include highly technical training or other specific requirements that will require the City to hire from outside the organization. These positions will be identified as part of a gaps analysis process so that we can plan for future outside recruitment for these positions. In any case, it should be recognized that our goal is to fill as many of our positions over the next five years by internal promotion as possible.

Step 3-Training and Education (June-November)

Once the future leaders of our organization are identified, training and education will be initiated to prepare them for future promotional opportunities. This training will include basic management skills such as planning, supervising and organizing employees. It will also include training in budgeting, human resources and computer skills by representatives from the Finance, Human Resources and IT Departments. The City Manager will provide training on leadership skills that will be necessary in order for employees to be positioned for future promotional opportunities. While this training will not guarantee that any employee will be promoted in the future, it will provide them with enhanced knowledge and skills necessary to effectively compete for future promotional opportunities.

It is anticipated that this training will be conducted over a 4-6 month process starting next June. A certificate with be provided to each employee who completes the training. Additional training will be provided every year if necessary to meet the City’s future staffing needs.

In addition to this training, each of the future supervisor/leaders will be assigned a coach/mentor who will be available on a one-to-one basis to guide the employee and provide continuous feedback and encouragement. This person should be a current supervisor or department head and should meet at least once a quarter with the employee for an update on their plans and discussion on any additional training that is needed.

Organizations that have a long-term succession plan will be better prepared to address future needs and challenges. By adopting and implementing this Plan, the City of Fredericksburg will be positioned to continue providing high quality services to our citizens that adhere to our core values for many years.