Businesses have long timelines that can surpass the time an employee will work for an Economic Development Department. And whether you’re a one person operation or a fully-staffed department, it’s important to create a plan for how the organization can continue to operate successfully with planned or unplanned departures. We’ll discuss how succession plans for governments can affect different parts of the organization and share easy ways to create a system that can keep a department running smoothly.
Why a succession plan for governments is important
Working in Economic Development is a unique position—it requires a deep understanding of local economic trends, business practices and your community and business owners. Many of these skills come from years of practice or important community context which can create challenges when a new team member joins the department. The easiest way to begin preparing for succession planning is to start before the need is there—the following tips can help accelerate onboarding and create a more resilient department.
Step 1: Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to house institutional knowledge is mission critical in a succession plan for governments
The first thing you can do is start keeping track of notes and records in a way that is easily shareable with your team. The most common way to do this is to use a CRM tool like Bludot.
A CRM is a database that collects and tracks important information about your customers and their relationship to you. In this case, your businesses and business leaders are your customers
A CRM for an Economic Development Department should allow you to track information about the businesses—such as square footage, owner contact information, type of business, new business growth, etc.—and activity with the business, such as emails and communications to the owners, visits to businesses, what type of visit, etc.
A CRM can also have multiple users on the same account, so everyone on your team is able to add, edit and view information about your local economy
We encourage you to keep track of everything in this database—official briefings, releases and even informal notes that are more specific to the company. Think about one of the businesses in your community: Is there something specific to that business owner that would be important for someone else to know? Maybe they have preferred hours they like to meet, or they have a unique founding story. Capturing these notes can prepare other team members to maintain that relationship without placing the burden of onboarding on the business owner.
Step 2: Tracking project management is a key step in a succession plan for governments
In addition to capturing information about your businesses, it is extremely helpful to capture information about any future business projects. A CRM like Bludot also has project management capabilities.
Project management information should include items such as specific tasks, task timelines and ownership
Keeping records of old projects can help new team members see how goals were achieved in the past
Tracking pending projects allow other department members to be prepared to onboard new businesses easily
Successful succession planning for governments allows seamless project transitions—it prevents repetitive information sharing and eases the burden of information sharing from the business owners.
Step 3: Keeping other departments up to date
Once you have information about your businesses, projects and strategy of your department written down, it’s time to keep other departments up to date. When new team members are added to the team, that can be a catalyst to organization-wide updates.
However, many CRM’s have the capability to add additional users to your account with view-only permissions. Now, other departments are able to constantly have full context of your relationships and projects. This supports cross department collaboration and reduces the need to communicate with other departments—making it easier for new team members to be introduced to other teams.
Why it’s helpful for your businesses
By implementing the tips above, the relationships with your community’s businesses are owned by the entire department. While usually there is still a single point of contact, your businesses are now able to work with a department as whole—making it easier for them to continue to get their needs addressed, even when staff turnover occurs.
Getting started with a CRM to help with a succession plan for governments
By investing in a culture of information sharing, you can foster a department of innovation and continuous improvement. By having a deep bench of talented staff members who are familiar with the department's operations and goals, departments can more easily pivot and adapt to changing circumstances.
It’s time to make sure your Economic Development Department is resilient in the face of turnover, changing economic conditions and priorities. Schedule a call with Bludot today to learn more economic development solutions to support and grow your department and future-proof your team with a successful succession plan for governments.