Succession planning is one of the most important things we do as HR professionals, and that’s why your team needs to know how you feel about them. If you don’t let them know, they may be susceptible to the hundreds of search firms on the prowl for talent.

We discussed succession planning during a recent conversation with our leadership team and how it often requires relocation. Several people asked about the language we use when talking about employee development in relation to relocation. Does the term “stretch assignment” convey a lack of confidence that they will succeed? Do you tell someone that the company “needs you to go do this assignment that requires relocation,” or do you ask them if they are open to relocating? These questions convey a message that the company needs to fill a position without considering the individual and their career goals, wants, and needs. Does this have something to do with the challenge of getting people to relocate?

A different leader on the call commented that everyone of the leaders in our meeting has relocated for a position, often multiple times. Through sharing our stories, we agreed it was how we were asked that convinced us to move. Our predecessors often presented how a move would help our career development, leverage our skills, achieve our personal goals, and not only how it would help the company.

As I watched the faces on the call, I saw every headnodding agreement. That was my story too. Each time I was asked to relocate, I remember hearing the words, “I know you can do this job.”That seemingly simple declaration relayed their confidence and intention to invest in me. Plus, wouldn’t you rather be asked to do something than simply told?

So, what did we do, this room full of leaders? We pledged to tell our teams how we feel about them and show the caring we all feel. It is our duty to listen to our teams and understand what they are trying to achieve and take that into consideration when we present a new assignment. We will highlight how it will help the person grow and achieve their goals and aspirations--the ability to do the things that feed their souls. We are committed to doing the very things that will let our people experience what we have experienced at Granite. The culture and caring that made all of those on the call want to spend a career with Granite. We can do this by not being afraid to show and tell our teams we care. By doing this, we ensure the legacy of our organization.