The Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) is not usually associated with Succession Planning. Yet, any organisation serious about integrating privacy into their operations needs to also take note of this linkage.
When it comes to succession, the usual assumption is that it is about ensuring a smooth change of leadership. Succession Planning actually goes much deeper than that: it involves planning for ALL the key positions in your organization. How will you fare if one of your key team members unexpectedly leaves, or isn’t able to perform his/her tasks for an extended period of time?
PoPIA has implications for both these scenarios, namely planning for a smooth leadership transition, as well as planning for changes of key team members.
PoPIA and Succession Planning for key positions
Planning for succession of your key positions requires careful planning and understanding of the requirements of that position. One has to ask what basic qualifications would be needed for that position, who one could potentially put in the pipeline to fill this position (somewhere down the line) and what skills that person would need to development to take over the role.
This type of planning brings together a lot of personal information. One would not only look at the qualifications of a candidate, but also his/her soft skills, gaps in technical or leadership skills and plans for developing the candidate to ultimately step into the predecessor’s shoes. This is obviously confidential information and one would be well advised to follow the PoPIA standards for the responsible processing and safeguarding of personal information to the letter – not only for the sake of compliance, but also for the sake of trust.
PoPIA and Succession Planning for a change of leadership
When it comes to planning for succession of leadership position(s) PoPIA comes into play as a key performance indicator.
It is fast becoming an essential requirement that organisations of all sizes have senior leaders who not only execute instructions for change, but are also visibly on the forefront of leading and implementing the change. The changes that PoPIA brings to an organisation affect people, processes and technology. It is therefore important that senior leaders have the right approach to manage and support their project teams – those who are planning, designing, and implementing the change that is required to become PoPIA compliant.
Leading a change project like PoPIA compliance is never an easy task. Having the right senior leadership with the ability to take hold of the change and steer the organisational ship in the right direction, makes sailing in the rough seas of compliance a whole lot easier, and a whole lot more likely to succeed.
These are aspects to keep in mind when planning for leadership succession and should be part of parcel of the responsibilities assigned to such positions.
Integrating PoPIA into an enterprise is not just about responsibly dealing with client information. It goes to the core of all business processes.