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Salem, OR—Today, the Secretary of State's office released an audit that finds Oregon's Department of Administrative Services (DAS) should be playing a stronger leadership role in addressing key workforce risks and challenges within the state executive branch. The audit recommends that DAS enhance workforce succession planning.

Succession planning is an ongoing management process used to ensure workforce continuity and effectiveness, particularly in key leadership and technical functions.

Auditors examined workforce succession planning practices at DAS and 8 Oregon executive branch agencies. They also reviewed state workforce data and practices in other states. The findings are outlined in the audit report, entitled: “Department of Administrative Services Should Enhance Succession Planning to Address Workforce Risks and Challenges.”

The audit found that DAS has not implemented or even developed a state-level succession planning framework. This increases the risk to our state government's ability to maintain knowledgeable and skilled employees. Demographic and economic trends, such as an increase in retirements, exacerbate the risk.

“We must be ready for this inevitable knowledge loss,” said Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. “We risk losing the institutional memory of our dedicated public servants if we don't address this issue now.”
State agencies reported challenges that may hinder succession planning that DAS should be addressing, such as inaccessible workforce information. A new human resource information system, slated to roll out in 2018, should help. However, the tools available in a new system will only be useful if employees actively use them and data is accurate and complete.

Drawing on examples from other states, the audit recommends that DAS implement a succession planning framework in the Oregon executive branch. This framework should include providing guidance to the agencies, monitoring workforce risks, and working with agencies to identify and address barriers to succession planning.

Richardson added, “We need skilled, competent employees in the pipeline ready and able to step into management and leadership roles when their time comes.”

Read the full audit on the Secretary of State website or peruse the audit highlights on the Audits Division blog.


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