Y offers Variety future choices

14/01/2009 - 22:00


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CHILDREN'S charity Variety WA has involved young volunteers in its succession planning strategy to ensure the future of the not-for-profit organisation in Western Australia.

FUTURE FOCUS: Variety WA\'s Caroline Johnston, Michael Pailthorpe ( centre) and Alan Linney believe the future of the charity rests with generation Y

CHILDREN'S charity Variety WA has involved young volunteers in its succession planning strategy to ensure the future of the not-for-profit organisation in Western Australia.

The brainchild of former chairman Alan Linney, the YV (Youth Variety) program has so far attracted 60 members of generation Y, who are heavily involved in developing the charity's fundraising initiatives.

Mr Linney is familiar with succession planning, having implemented the core strategic human resources initiative at his Linneys jewellery group over the past 30 years.

Succession planning is a process that ensures employees are recruited and developed to fill key positions within an organisation by identifying successors for existing positions, and planning for the development of a company's next generation of leaders.

"The younger members of Variety WA are keen to get in there and do what they want to do and they usually have some tremendous ideas about how to move Variety WA forward," Mr Linney told WA Business News.

"Often generation Y starts by saying 'okay what's in it for me?', but once they're sold on the idea they really want to help.

"Succession planning is vital because success is determined by who you leave [the business] to, who you hand control over to. It comes after you leave, that's your success."

Mr Linney, a leading fundraiser at Variety WA since 1992, said the generation Y recruits were fundamental in leading the charity into the future, with fresh and innovative ideas on new fundraising ventures.

Caroline Johnston, who was nominated to the Variety WA board in 2005 to create the succession-planning model and develop YV, has drawn on her experiences at recruitment firm asOne Solutions, which she established in 2006.

Using a variety of systems at asOne such as human logic, futuristic viewing and profiling, Ms Johnston works with companies that aspire to be in tune with the changing HR times while remaining open to the needs of generations X and Y.

"You find that a lot of companies, a great number of company leaders, are really quite anti-generation Y, and that's a little disconcerting," Ms Johnston told WA Business News.

"They think they're all lazy, selfish and always distracted. But through my work through Variety WA I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most outstanding generation Y young people.

"They want to help and they want to give, but not in money, they want to give in time and energy. They love to stretch their brains and, given something to do, they are inspiring young individuals."

Ms Johnston said the succession planning program at Variety WA would assist the charity in recruiting, hiring, and retaining skilled staff, which has become a challenging priority in WA's not-for-profit sector.

She said having the appropriate talent at the right time was necessary for any organisation to execute its business strategy, and the YV program enabled them to build up their skill base and grow in their chosen careers.

Established in Western Australia in 1980, Variety WA has grown into one of the most successful fundraising branches in the world with nearly 400 paid members and a further 100 volunteers.

The organisation's flagship charity fundraiser is the Variety Bash, held each year throughout Australia.


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