Succession Planning In The Public Service

November 17, 2018 | 5 Comments

“The combination of an ageing workforce and resource limitations in certain areas of specialization reinforces the need for the Government to place particular emphasis on succession planning,” Minister for the Cabinet Office Walton Brown said.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday [Nov 16], the Minister said, “The Bermuda Government is the Island’s largest employer, and its workforce demographic is reflective of the wider society. That is, the workforce is ageing and there are skills shortages in key areas of the Service,” the Minister said.

“As Bermuda’s largest employer, this Government is focused on developing its talent pool. We are committed to the training and development of all government officers and succession planning in the public sector is fundamental to the sustainability of the delivery of public services.

As of September 30th, 2018 there were 4,630 persons employed in the public service, the Minister said, noting that an earlier report indicates the number of non-Bermudians in permanent positions totaled 204 and of this number 148 positions are deemed ‘hard-to-fill.’

“Posts are considered ‘hard-to-fill’ either due to the lack of available qualified Bermudians or in some cases due to a worldwide shortage of qualified resources,” Minister Brown said.

“According to the Government’s Retirement by Age report, as at October 1st, 2018, there are 1,181 employees who will have reached the minimum eligible retirement age of 60 in the next five years and 515 of those individuals will attain the current mandatory retirement age of 65.

“The combination of an ageing workforce and resource limitations in certain areas of specialization reinforces the need for the Government to place particular emphasis on succession planning.

“The aim is to identify and develop leaders within the Service at both technical and professional levels that are ready and available to fill key roles in the future.

“We have committed to implementing a programme to assess the potential of our existing talent and strengthen the entire talent pipeline,” Minister Brown said, adding that “Government has put in place a Succession Planning Framework to support a consistent approach across the organization.

“The Government is actively working towards building capacity in the public service through the implementation of a strategic succession planning framework to meet the needs of a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good morning Mr. Speaker,

Honourable members will already know that the Bermuda Government is the Island’s largest employer, and its workforce demographic is reflective of the wider society. That is, the workforce is ageing and there are skills shortages in key areas of the Service.

Mr. Speaker, as Bermuda’s largest employer, this Government is focused on developing its talent pool.

We are committed to the training and development of all government officers and succession planning in the public sector is fundamental to the sustainability of the delivery of public services.

Mr. Speaker, as at September 30th, 2018 there were 4,630 persons employed in the public service.

An earlier report indicates the number of non-Bermudians in permanent positions totaled 204 and of this number 148 positions are deemed “hard-to-fill”.

Posts are considered “hard-to-fill” either due to the lack of available qualified Bermudians or in some cases due to a worldwide shortage of qualified resources.

What’s more Mr. Speaker, according to the Government’s Retirement by Age report, as at October 1st, 2018, there are 1,181 employees who will have reached the minimum eligible retirement age of 60 in the next five [5] years and 515 of those individuals will attain the current mandatory retirement age of 65.

The combination of an ageing workforce and resource limitations in certain areas of specialization reinforces the need for the Government to place particular emphasis on succession planning.

Mr. Speaker, the aim is to identify and develop leaders within the Service at both technical and professional levels that are ready and available to fill key roles in the future.

Mr. Speaker, to be clear, this is not a process of pre-selection wherein any one person is intended to assume a job once an incumbent is no longer available to fill the role either through retirement or termination of contract.

Instead, we have committed to implementing a programme to assess the potential of our existing talent and strengthen the entire talent pipeline.

Resultantly, Government has put in place a Succession Planning Framework to support a consistent approach across the organization.

Mr. Speaker, the objective of the Succession Planning Framework is to ensure the right people are in the right jobs at the right times to fill positions that are deemed critical or key.

The framework comprises of seven [7] steps:

Step 1 – Identify Critical Positions: without these roles Government departments will not be able to effectively meet their business objectives. Information on positions is currently being collected using a customized post-questionnaire in the Government’s Human Resource Information Management System.

Step 2 – Identify Competencies. Mr. Speaker, knowledge, skills and abilities are essential for successful performance. They are important for guiding personal/individualized development plans, setting clear performance expectations and assessing performance. The post-questionnaire requires the identification of competencies for each position.

Mr. Speaker, Step 3 is the identification of succession management strategies. Such strategies include:

  • developing internal talent pools for high-potential employees;
  • employee development which allows individuals to express interest in leadership roles, career advancement, or lateral moves;
  • retention and engagement which provides employees the opportunity to develop in ways that stretch their capabilities, challenges and engages them;
  • knowledge transfer that will enhance the orientation of persons coming into the role and ensure employees in key positions do not leave with critical knowledge; and
  • recruitment and selection as time may be limited to build a talent pool

Step 4 requires the documentation and implementation of succession plans.

Mr. Speaker, each critical position will require the development of a succession plan. The plan will document the agreed succession management strategy to hire for the position and prepare for future vacancies.

Step 5 involves assessing an employee’s performance/potential. This will require managers to review employee performance using performance management tools such as annual appraisals, personal/individualized development plans, and any other agreed upon assessments that will uncover potential.

Mr. Speaker, steps 6 and 7 require the identification of candidates, i.e. the results of the employee potential will determine which individuals should be identified for succession planning. While step 7 is evaluating the effectiveness of the succession planning process to ensure success, where adjustments are necessary to move towards successful outcomes they will be made.

Mr. Speaker, whilst the Government will take a more proactive and organized approach to succession planning, we will continue to administer existing programmes designed to prepare talent to take on progressively responsible roles in the Public Service.

As at November 5th, 2018 there were 17 Bermudians on the Public Service Commission’s [PSC] development plan status report.

Employees are included on this status report because Department Heads have committed to developing Bermudians. The Departments are required to submit the development plans to the PSC for review, to ensure the individuals’ development is on track and to ensure any challenges are addressed early.

Of the 17 Bermudians, 12 are being developed for positions deemed difficult to fill and/or held by non-Bermudians, and of the 12, eight [8] are Trainees enrolled in the Professional and Technical Trainee Scheme.

The remaining five [5] are Bermudian employees who were approved for appointment to positions during this year as these officers demonstrated, through the recruitment process, they meet the majority of the experience requirements for the post but need some continued development to ensure they are successful.

Mr. Speaker, this Professional and Technical Trainee Scheme provides Bermudians with the opportunity to obtain qualifications and/or work-related experiences which enables them to fill professional and technical positions within the Public Service that are difficult to fill and/or held by contract officers. Trainees receive both practical work-related experience and specific academic experiences locally and overseas.

Mr. Speaker, the Government is actively working towards building capacity in the public service through the implementation of a strategic succession planning framework to meet the needs of a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (5)

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  1. wondering says:

    This wont happen. Much like the work permit policy if you have anything to do with it…..succession planning is s joke. You have whole department working independently of the sepste divisions within itself and have no policy and procedures to speak of and you inflate the work if not dumbing it down to kindergarten level

  2. Trufth says:

    Does it really matter if people are trained to do their civil servant job properly? NO, because there are no performance appraisals, no accountability, no repercussions for failure. Our children have performance appraisals starting in pre-school but our civil servants? Nope, just get the job and coast into retirement.

    • bookmarks says:

      That’s not strictly true. There are performance appraisals, but if you get a bad appraisal, just go to the union and complain.

  3. Ringmaster says:

    This reads like an excuse to hire more Government employees. Existing employees will replace those retiring so we need to replace those people. No wonder taxes need to be increased to pay for more Government waste. Slim Government and collect the taxes that are not paid. If Government did that there would be no need for new taxes.

  4. J Austen says:

    Creeping socialism or in the least statism.

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