Succession Planning

13 April 2023

Hey there, fellow HR pros! Today we want to talk to you about something that’s near and dear to our hearts: succession planning.

You know what succession planning is, right? It’s the process of identifying and developing future leaders for your organization. It’s not just about filling vacancies when someone leaves or retires. It’s about building a talent pipeline that ensures your company has the right people with the right skills and potential at the right time.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not so fast. According to a recent 2023 survey only 35% of organizations have a formal succession plan in place. That means 65% of you are winging it when it comes to preparing for the future of your business. That’s a huge risk.

Why is succession planning so important? Well, let me give you three reasons:

1) Succession planning helps you retain your top talent. When you have a clear and transparent process for identifying and developing high-potential employees, you show them that you value their contributions and care about their career growth. You also create a culture of learning and development that fosters engagement and loyalty. And you know what they say: people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So if you want to keep your stars, you better have a plan for them.

2) Succession planning helps you avoid talent gaps. When you have a succession plan in place, you can anticipate and prepare for changes in your workforce. You can avoid scrambling to find replacements when someone quits or retires. You can also avoid over-relying on external hires who may not fit your culture or have the same commitment as your internal talent. And you can save time and money by reducing turnover and hiring costs.

3) Succession planning helps you achieve your strategic goals. When you have a succession plan in place, you can align your talent strategy with your business strategy. You can ensure that you have the right people with the right skills and potential in the right roles to execute your vision and mission. You can also foster innovation and agility by developing leaders who can adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.

So how do you create a succession plan? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some steps that I recommend:

– Start with your vision and mission. What are your long-term goals and objectives? What are the key competencies and behaviors that you need from your leaders to achieve them?
– Assess your current talent pool. Who are your high-potential employees? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their career aspirations and motivations?
– Identify your critical roles. Which positions are essential for your business success? Which ones are hard to fill or have high turnover rates?
– Create development plans. How will you prepare your high-potentials for future roles? What training, coaching, mentoring, feedback, and exposure opportunities will you provide them?
– Monitor and evaluate progress. How will you measure the effectiveness of your succession plan? What metrics will you use to track performance and potential? How will you adjust your plan as needed?

Succession planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires commitment and collaboration from all levels of the organization. It’s also not a guarantee of success. It’s a way of increasing your chances of having the right talent at the right time.

If you want to learn more about succession planning, I highly recommend reading The Talent Advantage by Alan Weiss and Nancy MacKay. It’s a great book that offers practical advice and best practices for creating a talent-driven organization.

Remember: talent wins games, but succession planning wins championships.

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