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Replacement Planning Process Template (Employee Turnover)

Use this process to outline how your human resources team should approach filling an empty role left by employee turnover.

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Replacement Planning Process Template (Employee Turnover)

Use this process to outline how your human resources team should approach filling an empty role left by employee turnover.


Why We Have a Replacement Planning Process

There are a couple of reasons why we’d have to replace an employee in a role. Sometimes, we get the chance to promote one of our team members — a cause for celebration! And when they leave their former role open, we generally need to replace them.

And then, there’s employee turnover. Not every person is going to be with us forever. Maybe they want to explore new opportunities, or maybe they ended up not being the best fit for the business — and that’s okay! 

What’s not okay is being unprepared for that change. When it happens, we never want to think, "Oh, bananas! Now what?"

That’s why we have an employee replacement planning process! It ensures we're never left with an empty role for too long. We can continue our processes, welcome fresh talent, and maybe even provide opportunities for growth within our current team. Plus, it helps in keeping things harmonious, structured, and just plain organized.

So, while goodbyes can be bittersweet, they also herald the arrival of fresh beginnings. And with our trusty replacement planning process by our side, we're ready to embrace change with grace and gusto!

Our Replacement Planning Process

The Two Options

Whether we promote an employee or they submit their resignation, it sets in motion a series of immediate actions. Key among these is a meeting between that employee’s manager and our HR team. This crucial discussion focuses on deciding the best strategy to address the soon-to-be-vacant position.

There are usually two primary options: 

  1. We consider hiring externally. This approach can infuse the team with new skills, experiences, and viewpoints. 
  2. We assess our current roster of employees to identify if there's someone internally who is suitable and ready for either a promotion or a lateral shift into the vacated role.

Ultimately, the decision hinges on various factors — like the urgency of filling the role, available talent, and the strategic direction of the department. Regardless of the route chosen, the goal remains the same: ensuring continuity and maintaining the efficiency of the team.

When We Decide to Hire Externally

If we ultimately decide to hire externally to fill an empty role, there is going to be some disruption to the performance of the team.

Hiring at our company can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months — followed by an extensive onboarding process. Basically, it could be a while before a new hire is up-to-speed on their responsibilities. 

But, the reason we have this process is to minimize the disruption as much as possible and make the transition easy for the team. So, here is the step-by-step guide for replacing an employee through external hiring:

  1. Immediate assessment of duties: Once the resignation (or promotion) is confirmed and the decision to hire externally is made, begin by cataloging the key responsibilities and projects the departing employee managed. It's essential to understand the full scope of the role.
  2. Prioritization: Not all tasks are created equal. Some responsibilities will be of higher priority than others, especially those that directly impact the company's operations, client relationships, or revenue streams. Identify these crucial tasks first.
  3. Temporary delegation: We can’t leave critical tasks unattended. Identify personnel who can temporarily shoulder these duties. It might mean that a senior team member steps up, or in some cases, responsibilities might be divided among multiple team members, ensuring the most vital tasks remain uninterrupted.
  4. Acknowledgment of limitations: In these transitional periods, it's essential to understand that some projects or tasks might need to be placed on hold. It's about focusing on the critical aspects of the role and ensuring they're adequately covered.
  5. Departmental collaboration: In some instances, especially in roles with broad impacts like sales, the ripple effect of the vacancy can be felt department-wide. When this happens, a collaborative approach is needed. Departments might need to rally together, sharing the load of the extra responsibilities to ensure consistent service or output levels.
  6. Job posting and recruitment: HR should swiftly draft and publish a job posting that accurately captures the requirements and expectations of the role. Engaging in active recruitment methods, such as tapping into professional networks and utilizing recruiters, can expedite the search.
  7. Selection and onboarding: Once a suitable external candidate is identified and the hiring process is complete, ensure a thorough onboarding. This doesn't just include an introduction to the company but also a deep dive into the tasks and projects that were previously prioritized and delegated.
  8. Transition: As the new hire gets up to speed, there should be a transition plan in place. This includes handing back the temporarily delegated responsibilities and ensuring the new employee has all the support they need to take full charge of their role.

When We Decide to Fill the Role Internally

If we decide to fill the role internally, there will still be some disruption to the operations of the business, but we still want to minimize those as much as possible. So, here’s our step-by-step guide to promoting or shifting a current employee into an empty role:

  1. Identification: Start with identifying potential candidates from within. Assess skills, experience, and performance records to pinpoint those whose profiles align with the requirements of the vacant role. It's not just about matching skills but also considering the individual's potential and growth trajectory.
  2. Expressing interest: Before making any decisions, approach the identified internal candidate. Discuss the new role, its challenges, and benefits. It's vital to ensure the candidate is genuinely interested and sees this as a positive step in their career.
  3. Adjustment phase: Moving into a new role isn't just about a title change. The employee will need time to adjust to the nuances of their new responsibilities. Provide mentorship or training if necessary, ensuring they're comfortable and confident.
  4. Timeline for transition: Set clear expectations and a timeline for the complete transition into the new role. This might span a few weeks, allowing the individual to slowly ease out of their current duties and take on the new ones.
  5. Backfilling the vacated role: Now that one role is filled, there's another left vacant. Much like the earlier external hiring process, decisions will need to be made regarding filling this position. Depending on the role's nature, you might opt for external hiring or another internal shift.
  6. Feedback loop: As the internal candidate settles into their new position, establish a continuous feedback mechanism. Regular check-ins can help address any challenges they might face and ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.
  7. Finalization: Once the employee is firmly established in their new role and their previous position has been addressed, the process can be considered complete. Celebrate this internal growth, as it's a testament to both the individual's dedication and the organization's commitment to nurturing talent.

Embracing internal promotions and shifts highlights our dedication to career progression and recognizes our existing talent pool's potential. This process ensures a streamlined transition while also underscoring the importance of adaptability and growth.

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