As a new year dawns upon us, we reflect on the successes and challenges of 2018 and bring our insights and plans into 2019. We plan for new projects, global expansion, and new product and service offerings. However, one of the keys to successful business continuity often becomes an afterthought rather than a building block; I’m referring to succession planning (or lack thereof).
Succession planning is a strategy or process that identifies and develops new leaders at all levels of a company. People come and go for a variety of reasons. These changes are inevitable and organizations need to be prepared when these changes do occur. We must ask ourselves why such a critical process often gets overlooked.
The underground hard-rock mining sector is cyclical in nature. It experiences the typical boom and bust that other industries experience. In the boom cycle, such as today, there are thousands of employment vacancies. The same situation was experienced ten years ago, and so forth. Mining CEOs talk about nurturing their “new talent”. Yet 90% of these same organizations will reduce their manpower during the next downturn, including letting go of their young and promising team members (team members that the Oil and Gas sector will gladly hire and keep out of underground mining forever). Then, three to five short years later, our industry leaders will start talking about succession planning all over again, essentially back to square one.
Dumas Mining does things a little differently, as we consider our people to be our greatest investment and key success factor. We understand our dual role in the mining industry as not only a world-class mine builder, but also a builder of talented professionals such as miners, mechanics, electricians, engineers, estimators, etc. It comes as no surprise to us when clients and competitors try to poach our people; we have invested in training and developing skilled people into talent pools we know are highly desired by the market.
I am fine with poaching when it does occur. At Dumas, we know that the best talent always comes back in very short order. When we’ve asked these people why they want to return to Dumas Mining, they tell us that they always remember Dumas took a chance on them. We invested the time and resources to train and develop them when other companies couldn’t be bothered. They often didn’t want to take a risk on the “new talent.” At Dumas, we develop our “new talent” and strategically place our people in challenging positions, surrounding them with critical support to ensure their growth and development. We continue developing our succession plans to ensure that talent gaps do not occur often, and when they do occur, we are quick to respond and fill that gap from within our ranks.
Dumas Mining keeps its talent pool gainfully employed even in the worst of times. Case and point, during our recent and most trying period in Dumas history, we focused on thousands of actions that significantly turned around our business while building a sustainable, long-lasting platform. In the worst of times, we pride ourselves on thinking outside the box and doing our very best to retain our talent. At Dumas, we choose to do things differently.