The Jeepney Syndrome – Succession Planning

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The Jeepney Syndrome – Succession Planning

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

If you are heading a company, you are guaranteed, sooner or later, to have to find a replacement for an employee. In one word: succession. According to the encyclopedia of management, succession planning involves “using the supply of labor within the organization for future staffing needs.”

One of the greater issues in this area is… not planning at all! Let’s call this phenomenon ‘the Jeepney Syndrome’. The process spurs thoughts as to what would happen if a Jeepney hit a strategic employee. How would this affect the company? Would there be someone to replace him or her? How efficiently would the role be reassigned to someone new?

Unsurprisingly, this creates feelings of unease and perhaps for this reason many companies fail to identify their most talented employees, who could take up senior roles in cases of unexpected dismissals.

Alternatively, it may be that many are not aware of the fact that succession planning is one of the most important human capital investments for companies operating in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly challenging business environment. The process develops a sustainable ‘strategic-talent pipeline’, which creates a pool of readily available leadership talent that then contributes to the company’s chances of future success and survival.

Here, I will familiarize you with the 4 very basic steps involved in succession planning to create some food for thought, particularly aimed at those considering its application.

Conduct a talent review!

– Identify ‘high risk roles’
– Determine who is likely to leave within the next year
– Decide on whether or not you can fill in their role from within the organization
– If so, support the development of these individuals
– If not, begin to seek candidates form external sources

Define ‘position requirements’!

Seeing as strategic positions require significantly more skills and experience than less senior roles, it is important to create elaborate position requirements. This can be accomplished using competency profiles.

Create appropriate ‘people data’ requirements!

Aside from providing simplistic performance appraisals, as would be the case for regular employees, those considered for strategic positions should be appraised in much more detail. For instance, aside from simplistic performance ratings, you could also require an explanation for the rating, as well as a description of the context.

Last but not least, plan suitable development activities!

Again, considering the specific requirements for the position, it will require unique training and development for the candidates. These are likely to be tailored to the individual candidates’ particular weaknesses in relation to the position requirements, as opposed to general training provided for all employees.

Don’t fall prey to the Jeepney Syndrome. Now you know the basic steps to prepare your succession plans!


Tell us about your experiences of the effectiveness of succession planning. How did YOU implement this practice? Tweet us @ProfilesAsiaP or contact us on Facebook!


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