Push your thinking about succession planning

How some business owners found enlightenment through a 20 Group.


In addition, through considerable research, this 20 Group was able to look at the available pool of current high school seniors, community college and university students.

A Revealing Process

This manufacturer’s group developed an impressive process of exposing selected students – potential employees – to actual work, while at the same time being able to take a good look at the candidates for future positions. Selected high school seniors and community college and university students usually in their junior year are given a chance to work as summer interns in the companies in various positions.

After evaluation of their tenure as an intern, many of these students are invited to interview and then participate in what the companies call a test drive. This consists of a salary for working several weeks up to a three-month period in increasingly challenging assignments in the company. During this time, the candidates are evaluated by the company for their potential, ability, drive and possible fit within the company’s cultural environment.

At the end of the test drive, the companies decide whether or not to offer a permanent position to the individuals.

After a few years of working this plan, the participating business owners have seen great success with hiring the best of the best and their results are showing it. These individuals are some of the highest productivity employees and their turnover is very low.

I would suggest you consider using this strategy when doing your own succession planning. It has been one of the most innovative approaches I have seen.

Tim Kraus is the president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA). www.hdma.org. Prior to joining HDMA, he served in various executive positions with heavy duty industry parts manufacturers. HDMA exclusively serves as the industry voice of the commercial vehicle product manufacturers. It is a market segment affiliate of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). www.mema.org.

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