Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die. It increases the likelihood of having internal, experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they are vacated. Succession planning is crucial in order to avoid an organizational crisis when someone in a key role leaves.
Through careful succession planning, you should never have a key role open for very long. The key is to recruit strong, talented employees and then prepare them for their next role as they develop within the organization. Both small and large companies can benefit from succession planning.
Key advantages for employers include:
· You will always have prepared employees to step into roles as your company grows. A lack of qualified employees will not hinder your growth plans.
· Having employees on hand and ready to step up allows you to make quick organizational changes as necessary.
· By sharing knowledge of qualified candidates within the organization across leadership, managers have a wider number of candidates for any open position.
· As baby boomers retire, you can be preparing the generation underneath them to replace them.
Key Advantages to employees include:
· Employees know that a larger role awaits them which boosts self-esteem and self-respect as well as increases employee engagement and retention.
· Having a succession planning program in place encourages employees to develop their careers.
· It allows employees to be prepared for a promotion when the opportunity arises.
· It allows the employee to know his/her skills are being shared organization-wide so that other manager know about them when an opening occurs.
There are seven key steps to creating a successful succession planning program:
1. Be Proactive. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prepare promising employees for a future role, before you know that role is needed. Create yourself a safety net.
2. Keep an Open Mind. The best successor isn’t always the second in command. Look at all employees and identify skill areas that might allow someone to thrive in a higher-level position.
3. Communicate the Vision. Communicate the plan across the organization so that managers and employees are aware.
4. Keep Track of Employee Achievements. Encourage managers to keep close track of employee achievements. This will help leadership to see which employees have the best potential to rise to the top.
5. Provide Training to Top Performers. A well developed training and mentor program goes hand in hand with a succession planning program. It’s important to continue developing soft skills such as verbal and written communication.
6. Offer Trial Runs. As you are preparing employees for leadership roles, allow them to cover while a leader is out sick or on vacation. It will give them valuable experience and build confidence.
7. Use Succession Planning as a Hiring Strategy. Once you’ve identified internal candidates for future positions, analyze their skills and identify any gaps. As you source for new employees try to fill those gaps, which will result in a well-rounded team.
Succession planning mitigates the risk of lost knowledge by ensuring you consistently have the required skills and knowledge to meet business objectives and fill unexpected or expected vacancies. Whether large or small, all organizations can benefits from some type of a succession planning program.
Additional ASE Resources
ASE offers several resources for organizations seeking to create a succession planning program:
Class: Succession Planning for Leadership Positions - This training will discuss how to create an organized program for identifying and developing future leaders to fill senior and executive positions within an organization. Participants will learn the important steps and receive tools that can be adapted to their workplace to create a documented approach for creating the leaders of tomorrow. Thursday, October 26, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Livonia, MI. Register here.
McLean& Company: ASE Partner, McLean & Company, offers several documents and tools to assist you in creating a succession planning program. ASE members can access the McLean & Company website by logging into their Dashboard and selecting McLean & Company under My Resources. Simply type “Succession Planning” into the search bar on the McLean website.
Sources: thebalance.com, roberthalf.com