Weekend Poll Results: How Your Offices Would Cope if You Moved On

Thanks to all who participated in my latest Weekend Poll. This weekend’s question:

Succession Planning: What if You Left Your Role?

NYC Commuters 0805 G Copyright Shelagh DonnellyThe results of my latest Weekend Poll suggest that there’s little in the way of formalised succession planning in place for admin. professionals.  Formal  succession planning is in place for only 3% of respondents’ roles.


If you walked … almost 60% of your execs are somewhat in the dark as to your career plans

38% of respondents reported that they have had discussions of their long term career plans with their principals/executives. The good news is that this is an increase from 18.5% last year. Another 18% of respondents have discussed their long term career plans with their executives, but have not disclosed all their goals or plans. A whopping 41% of respondents have not had any such discussions at all.


Does this partially reflect assumptions of loyalty?

I didn’t pose this question in last year’s poll, but 43% of respondents to this latest poll reported having been with their organisations for 11 years or longer. 14% of you have been with your organisations 20 years or longer, so it’s not unreasonable that some executives don’t necessarily anticipate change.

On the other hand, 11% of respondents landed their current roles within the last year – and 34% of all respondents have been with their firms five years or less.

What do you think? Do these stats reflect assumptions, accurate or not? Or, does the fact that 41% of respondents’ employers don’t know about their career plans reflect a lack of importance attached to succession planning or goal setting for admin. professionals?


How your offices and successors will cope with change

Succession planning is relevant because, while 57% of respondents say they’re not planning a change in the near future, 21% reported that it all depends on what other opportunities are available … and more than 16% of respondents are currently exploring other opportunities or have given notice.

While 68% of you said your job descriptions are current, and 42% have developed or maintained process/procedural manuals for your role,  a full 57% of respondents believe their organisations would revise your job descriptions in order to recruit for the required skills. In at least one instance, the current job description specifically reflects the incumbent in the role.

What about the state of your office, desk and filing? Well, while more than a quarter of respondents would be uncomfortable turning things over in their current state, almost three quarters are you are satisfied with the current state of organisation.


organised desk copyright Shelagh Donnelly

These results reflect the percentage of respondents who selected the indicated responses.

How long have you worked for your current employer?

  • less than one year: 11%
  • one – five years: 23%
  • six – 10 years: 23%
  • 11 – 15 years: 20%
  • 16 – 20 years: 8.5%
  • 21 – 25 years: 8.5%
  • 26- 30 years: 3%
  • more than 30 years: 3%

Were you hired into your current role as the result of succession planning rather than recruitment that commenced solely with a vacancy?

  • Yes: 6%
  • Not applicable; this was a newly created role: 20%
  • No: 68%
  • 6% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included, “Slotted” and “Came in as a maternity cover and stayed – despite cover returning”. Another person wrote, “Three of the four previous holders of my role have been internally promoted to other departments, which I would consider as succession planning.”

Is there any succession planning in place for your role?

  • No: 69%
  • No, although I have my eye on one or more good candidates: 11%
  • Yes: 3%
  • Yes, although it is informal and based on assumptions rather than actual planning: 11%
  • 6% selected “Other”.  Comments included, “Unknown” and “It wouldn’t be allowed.”

Have you documented processes and procedures, or otherwise created a manual in case someone should be required to step into your role?

  • Yes: 42%
  • I’ve documented workflow/processes for core responsibilities, but nothing further: 28%
  • No: 28%
  • 3% selected “Other”; one respondent wrote s/he had done so, but that the material needed updating.

Is your job description current?

  • Yes: 68% (with one person commenting that s/he wrote it just last year)
  • No: 32%

If you left your role, would your organisation need to revise your job description to recruit for the skills required?

  • Yes: 57%
  • No: 40%
  • 3%  of respondents selected “Other”. One wrote, “Yes – my JD has been specially created to suit me and my skills”.

If your left and your job description needed revision to reflect actual responsibilities, do you anticipate that would impact recruitment requirements?

  • 8%: anticipate that a successor would be required to have more formal education
  • 16%: Yes; a successor would likely require more specialised skill sets
  • 21%:Yes; a successor would likely require broader skill sets
  • 24%: No
  • 29% anticipated that elements of the job would be assigned to another position (the same percentage as in 2016)
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One wrote, “I have a dual role – PA to CEO and Office Manager”.

If your job description reflected actual responsibilities, do you anticipate that would impact a successor’s compensation package? 

  • 61% of respondents said they anticipated that compensation would likely be enhanced
  • 24% of respondents said “No”; they did not anticipate compensation would be enhanced
  • 12% of respondents said they anticipated that compensation would likely be downgraded
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”; one wrote, “Possible impact”.

If you were to suddenly vacate you role, would you be comfortable with the state of your office/desk/files?

  • 74% of respondents said yes; they’re organised (compared to 90% last year)
  • 20% of respondents said no; if they were to suddenly leave, they’d be embarrassed to turn things over as is (this is double the percentage of people who said no last year)
  • 6% selected “Other”. One person wrote, “I inherited a mess that I’ve not been able to completely fix”, while another commented, “Yes – but I can always do more!”

Have you and your principal/executive had discussion about your long term career plans?

  • 18%: Yes, but I haven’t disclosed all my goals/plan
  • 38%: Yes, and we have a shared understanding of my goals/plans
  • 41%: No
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”.  One person commented, “Yes – my CEO is supportive (my plans don’t involve leaving the company).”

How long do you anticipate remaining in your current position?

  • 27%L for the forseeable future; I’m where I want to be
  • 21%: it all depends on what other opportunities are available
  • 16%: currently exploring other opportunities
  • 14%: one to five years
  • 9%: for the forseeable future; I need the security
  • 5%: six to 10 years
  • 2%: 16 – 20 years
  • 4% selected “Other”. Comments included, “I’ve handed in my notice as I’m doing the work of 2 people” and “I’m content but always aware of what’s happening in the job market”.

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