Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Sept 13, 2021

Michelle BraniganWhat is Succession Planning?

By Michelle Branigan

Succession planning is a fairly straightforward concept. It refers to the process for identifying and developing the people in an organization to ensure critical positions are not left vacant due to staff turnover. While succession management focuses on building bench strength and the broader corporate capability, succession planning has a narrower scope, concentrating on the depth and breadth of competencies for specific roles. Its purpose is to highlight critical occupations and roles within the organization, assess future resourcing risks, and identify specific candidates to be promoted to key positions when they become vacant.

So why aren’t we doing it more? One reason may be that succession planning can be perceived as difficult to implement, sometimes due to lack of time, lack of buy-in from senior management, or even unwillingness to have difficult conversations with employees.

The Business Case for Succession Planning

One of the most disruptive things that can happen to an organization is the sudden loss of a person in a critical position. Such departures can create confusion and risk to an organization’s stability. By identifying qualified pools of candidates ready to fill such positions, your company will be prepared for a much easier transition—even if it’s a sudden one.
Leaving key positions open within an organization can have a number of undesirable effects, especially if those vacancies are long-term. Without competent people in these positions, projects are delayed, and critical decisions cannot be made costing the organization time and financial resources.

Organizations that experience high turnover or significant growth may look to decrease the time it then takes for new employees to get proficient in their roles. Succession planning allows you to determine the best way to fill positions (internally vs. externally) before those positions become vacant. This gives you more time to ensure potential successors are ready when you need them — and can even help you fill positions faster without expensive search and selection processes. It also reduces the risk of filling critical positions with candidates who aren’t a good fit or who don’t have the competencies required for the new role – a costly mistake for any business large or small.

High-tech companies may need to maintain a continuous level of technical integrity or regulatory compliance. Those with relatively stable, formalized operational processes may find it difficult to capture and transfer the tacit/implicit knowledge that can take years to acquire.

And in many cases, people retiring or leaving a company achieves a level of unconscious competency and do not realize they need to share information with less-experienced employees. (These realities make it just as important to implement a knowledge management program to complement your succession planning program.) Retirements continue to drive hiring needs in our sector and it appears, anecdotally at least, that COVID-19 has prompted what some are calling the “Great Resignation”, leading to increased turnover in many industries. Because the electricity sector relies on a stable, ready workforce in order to function every day, we must continue to think steps ahead of labour market changes.

Despite this research has shown that most succession management plans are focused primarily on current leadership roles, failing to anticipate future critical roles. EHRC’s 2017 labour market intelligence study, Workforce In Motion, reported that while two thirds (69%) of Canadian electricity employers had succession plans in place for management, less than half had succession plans for other occupational groups (including engineering, trades and IT occupations).

This shortsightedness presents a clear risk to companies in the electricity sector, with several studies illustrating that industry trends such as automation, digitization, artificial intelligence and remote process control will bring about new jobs that were not even conceivable just a few years ago.

Need Help to Get Started?

Electricity Human Resources Canada’s latest resource, the Succession Planning Guidebook, is a practical reference tool that includes best practices to manage succession planning in your organization, whether you’re just getting started or looking to make improvements to your existing plan.

It provides tools to get started, including how to define critical positions and competencies, identify and develop “successor” employees, manage talent pipelines, and communicate your succession strategy throughout your organization.

Whether you have not seriously considered succession planning yet, or already have a well-established process in place, the Succession Planning Guidebook can support your organization’s strategy. Find the Guidebook online for free at

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.

Statistics CanadaThere were slightly fewer active businesses (-0.1%; -1,208) in May compared with a month earlier, marking the first time since May 2020 that the number of closures outpaced openings.

The number of business openings decreased by 11.5%, the largest percentage decrease since December 2018 and the second consecutive month with negative growth (Chart 1). The number of business closures declined by 2.9%, following a 2.5% increase in April. The decline in the number of business openings in May was largely driven by fewer entrants (-16.4%). The number of entrants in May was below the 2015-to-2019 average for the first time since August 2020. 

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488 Days of COVIDBy John Kerr

Looking back to early 2020, the industry entered the first quarter with a sense of a solid year ahead, one that would easily eclipse 2019, and then in mid-March the brakes went on and relatively quickly.

On both the supplier and distribution sides, many took a reactionary stance and then quietly planned their next moves. Thinking differently, adding stock and doubling down on inventory, looking at alternative shipping methods and figuring out how to stay close to the customer are among the attributes of those that pivoted well and have come out of the dark in great shape.

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Non-Mortgage Borrowing from Chartered Banks in March 2020The outstanding credit debt of private non-financial corporations doubled from the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to early 2020. At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, businesses added a record $52.1 billion in credit debt to their balance sheets. However, according to a new study, as other sources of financing became available and businesses adapted to the pandemic, outstanding loan balances with banks declined for eight consecutive months.

The study Trends in Canadian business debt financing: Before and during COVID-19 looks at the types of credit debt private non-financial corporations incurred prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how they used that liquidity to weather the economic turbulence during this period.

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Investment in Building Construction - May 2021Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9% to $19.4 billion. This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (-2.7%) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction declined 2.7% to $14.8 billion in May.




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David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method...

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Changing Scene

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Premise LED Inc. is a Canadian based lighting manufacturer and market leader dedicated to supplying ...
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Nick Foster, Leviton Canada, has been appointed 2nd Vice Chair on EFC’s Atlantic Region ...
This year’s EFC Conference hosted over 500 members from all across Canada for two full days of ...
Beginning October 1st, 2021, we are pleased to announce CSA Enterprises Limited will be become the ...
ETIM North America (NA) announced that Atkore, Rexel Canada Electrical Inc, and Priority Wire ...
Atkore’s FRE Composites® fiberglass conduit recently experienced increased demand in above- and ...
Hammond Power Solutions Inc. (HPS or the Company) announced today that Chief Executive Officer and ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (“DGI”) proudly announces the acquisition of Matériaux de Plomberie PMF and ...
 Canada’s National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that IDEAL ...


Signify“In the second quarter we saw an acceleration of the pace of recovery in comparison to the first three months of the year,” says CEO Eric Rondolat. “We successfully executed our strategy as demand for our connected lighting offers and our growth platforms remained strong.”

The consumer segment held its momentum and demand for conventional products proved resilient. The professional lighting segment showed sequential improvements, while still impacted by both extended lockdowns and supply constraints. Overall, we managed to improve the operating margin by 190 basis points and generated a solid free cash flow. 


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Adrian ThomasSchneider Electric Canada, together with the France Canada Chamber of Commerce Ontario (FCCCO) is proud to announce Adrian Thomas as the newly elected President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada (EUCCAN). Thomas, who currently serves as the country president of Schneider Electric Canada is entrusted with continuing the growth of EUCCAN by reinforcing transatlantic cooperation between the European and Canadian business communities.  “I am deeply honoured for the opportunity to join EUCCAN as their new President and build on the growth they’ve experienced in recent years,” says Adrian Thomas, Country President of Schneider Electric Canada. 

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Agents of ChangeAgents of Change is an event for stakeholders from Canada's electricity and beyond to build capacities in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Agents of Change is a one-day event focused on equipping attendees with the tools they need to address the challenges under-represented groups face in the workplace. Women, Indigenous people, racialized people, persons with disabilities, LGBQ+, gender diverse people and newcomers to Canada are under-represented in electricity and often face systemic barriers. We have the power to change this disparity and transform our sector into a paragon of equity.


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Flemming Jensen, Jason Samuelian, and John ClancyLED lighting solutions manufacturer Espen Technology has announced three changes to its sales management team.

Flemming Jensen (left), previously was Vice President of the Central and South Regions, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Flemming brings over 40 years of industry experience in the distribution, ESCO, and agent markets. He will focus on continuing Espen’s top line growth, in the coming years.


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Edison ReportEdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be presented the Tuesday evening, 26 OCT before LightFair begins on Wednesday, 27 OCT.

Judges for 2021 were Paul Pompeo, Nancy Clanton, and Donny Wall.  Clanton stated, “Selecting individuals for this award was extremely rewarding especially in identifying the leaders and innovators, including world class lighting designers and researchers, that truly have made a tremendous positive impact in our lighting industry.”



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Peers & Profiles

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Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...



Brett NicholdsBy Blake Marchand

Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ceiling troffer LED fixtures that utilize optical film technology to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency.

Their flagship product is the EcoWing, which is available for new construction and fixture in fixture retrofits. Their primary application target is office buildings, hospitals, and dealerships. Recent projects include the Department of National Defense building in Ottawa, AMPED Sports Lab, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Surgenor Automotive Group.


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Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

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