The Secretary of State’s Audits Division found that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) should play a stronger leadership role in addressing key workforce risks and challenges within the state executive branch, through enhanced workforce succession planning.
This audit reviewed succession planning within the Oregon executive branch. Succession planning is an ongoing management process used to ensure workforce continuity and effectiveness, particularly in key leadership and technical functions.
The purpose of the audit was to determine if and how the State of Oregon could better plan for future key workforce needs, including preparing state employees to fill key roles.
Within the context that effective succession planning is difficult, complex and is frequently not a priority within the public sector, we found:
- DAS has not developed or implemented a state-level succession planning framework, despite recognizing the importance of succession planning.
- The lack of a succession planning framework increases workforce risks, such as not developing or retaining knowledgeable and skilled employees to perform critical functions.
- These risks are exacerbated by demographic and economic trends, including increasing retirement rates, and a lack of formal succession planning processes within state agencies.
- State agencies also report challenges, including inaccessible workforce information, that may hinder strategic human capital management practices and should be addressed at a state level.
To reach our findings we conducted interviews, reviewed documents and reported practices, researched leading practices and analyzed workforce data.
Drawing from national leading practices and benchmarking with other states, the report includes eight recommendations to the Department of Administrative Services focused on implementing a succession planning framework in the Oregon executive branch. Recommendations include providing guidance to agencies, monitoring workforce risks, and working with agencies to identify and address barriers at a state level.