The Why, What, and How of Succession Planning
What is Succession Planning?
Succession planning is a process of identifying employees who are capable of moving into the key positions within your business. It helps to identify future capacity and capability gaps, and address professional development requirements. It enables career discussions with employees.
Why develop a Succession Plan?
Succession planning ensures the ongoing sustainability of your organisation. All organisations lose good people for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Succession planning is therefore important to ensure your business is well placed to continue its goals and strategy with a high performing team.
How to develop a Succession Plan?
Filling critical vacancies can be expensive, time consuming and challenging, so you need to prepare for this by implementing a succession planning process that will allow you to minimise the impact of losing key staff. Effective succession planning will ensure the business runs smoothly until critical vacancies are filled.
It is crucial that you proactively identify and develop high potential employees now, so that you have people with the right skills and experience once a key role becomes vacant. This will enable you to respond to change more effectively and ensure leadership continuity. It is also an effective process for recognising, developing and retaining leadership talent.
5 Steps to create a Succession Plan
Analyse business plans to identify the positions most critical for business growth.
Establish the key competencies required to undertake these roles and the high potential employees that could step up and assume these positions.
Recognise the timeframe of your successor’s readiness to take on the role. Are they ready to commence development now? In the short term? Or, in the long term?
Determine the training and development required to fill skill gaps and prepare them for advancement. This can include mentoring, secondments, on the job training as well as external courses.
Managers in all parts of the organisation should be continually identifying gaps in talent and focusing on the development of high performers.
Succession planning should be aligned with the overall business strategy, this will ensure that the investment in future leaders is targeted and reflects the organisation’s strategic direction. Most importantly, succession planning needs to be an ongoing commitment. This will ensure that people with the best skills are moving into the right jobs.
Succession planning is a talent and organisational improvement initiative that enables a business to grow and thrive now and in the future. Unfortunately, succession planning is too often an undervalued process in organisations and therefore not done as a result. Organisations cannot succeed or grow without formal Succession Planning in place so it is crucial that your organisation makes this process a priority.