Steve Saltzgiver
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Steve Saltzgiver

Steve Saltzgiver, CAFS, fleet consultant with Mercury Associates, will lead a session about succession planning during the 2018 Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX), which takes place June 4-7 in San Diego, Calif. The event includes a ride and drive, networking opportunities, an exhibit hall, and more than 20 hours of educational sessions.

In 2017, Saltzgiver was inducted into the Public Fleet Hall of Fame and awarded the Legendary Lifetime Achievement Award at GFX. We talked to Saltzgiver about planning, preventing "brain drain," and why succession planning matters. Here's a preview:

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I have more than 40 years of experience, successfully transitioning from wrench-turner to manager of a $1.5 billion, 50,000-unit fleet. I've managed fleets for a local municipality, two states, and two Fortune 500 operations. I'm the recepient of multiple industry awards, including the 2000 Honda Motors Environmental Leadership Award and 2015 Sustainable Fleet Award, and I hold Business Management and Masters of Organizational Management degrees from the University of Phoenix. (Learn more about Saltzgiver here.)

Q: What is brain drain?

A: Brain drain is the systematic loss of institutional knowledge that an organization forfeits as baby boomers (and others) exit the workplace when the organization does not have a good succession or mentor program.

Q: What’s a misconception about succession planning?

A: The biggest misconception is that succession planning costs too much for the incumbent employee to take the time to train a replacement. The exact opposite is true, as big companies often spend an average of $15,000 or more to onboard a new employee plus the loss of productivity as the employee is forced to learn a new job with the benefit of the exiting employee’s tutelage. Designing an effective succession plan can save an organization money by improving productivity, reducing mistakes, and boosting morale.

Q: What should we expect to learn at this educational session?

A: As more and more baby boomers retire and exit organizations, it’s becoming increasingly paramount for organizations to capture institutional knowledge before they experience brain drain. Failing to encapsulate knowledge will hamper employee replacement transition, drive up costs, and impact customer service delivery. Explore issues and real-life strategies that could work for your organization to attract the right talent and avoid the pitfalls that could be putting your company at a disadvantage.

Q: I’m not leaving anytime soon. Why does succession matter?

A: Organizations and employees can’t always predict when someone might leave. The workplace is fluid and, in a good economy, people choose to leave without much notice to employers. Additionally, unpredictable events like fatalities, accidents, maternity leave, retirements, and other life events happen often without notice.

Catch Saltzgiver at GFX, which takes place June 4-7, 2018 in San Diego, Calif. "Prevent Brain Drain: How to Create an Effective Succession Plan" takes place Tuesday, June 5 at 4:25 p.m. Learn more about GFX and check out the schedule here.

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