You may currently have a brilliant team of managers at all levels, but the truth is that, sooner or later, everyone within a company will need to be replaced due to many irrepressible factors – some will retire, others may progress to higher positions, some more might leave the enterprise. And as the substitute-needed possibilities are plenty, the HR teams should always be prepared to step in and insert a well-trained talent for any position that turns out to be uncovered.
That is why HR professionals should implement a comprehensive succession planning strategy. This term stands for an ongoing process of recognizing and tracking internal high-potential talents who are capable of filling management positions when they result vacant. Unfortunately, according to a recent research, as many as 46% of UK businesses don’t have a good succession plan in place and, of those that do, most are incomplete, as some roles are entirely overlooked.
Succession planning, however, is an extremely important perpetual process: HRs need to constantly identify core necessary skills and consequently assess, develop, and retain a pool of top-class employees, so that a leadership continuity for all focal positions is fully ensured.
Why succession planning is of primary importance for the entire business
Succession management is all about future-proofing the business development. It relies on a precise definition of future leadership requirements that are strictly aligned with the general business strategy. HR professionals should remember that a long-term successful performance is connected to a clear vision of how you are going move the team forward when you remain without your key players. Hence, it is not simply a replacement, but a process with a much broader perspective encompassing the overall business operation rather than single job positions or divisions.
On the other hand, succession planning is important for the employees themselves: it reveals the stretch opportunities that open the door to acquiring new skills, gaining more value within the team, and thereupon advancing the career. Thus, if orchestrated well and founded upon melding data-based and people-centric factors, succession planning can be translated into a risen commitment to your company and internal employees’ empowerment.
Succession planning: how to do it efficiently
Here are some strategies to keep in mind while approaching succession planning in your organisation:
- First and foremost, regardless of your company’s size, a succession planning should focus on specific outcomes you want to get. Therefore, determine clearly the mission-critical positions and corresponding talent gaps, both current and imminent. As soon as the critical positions with an upcoming turnover are identified, make a skillset analysis, define the competencies required to do those jobs adequately, as your high-potential workers will have to improve in it.
- Once identified the to-be-filled positions, select the employees at every hierarchy level who can potentially take upon themselves a greater working responsibility. Initiate an appropriate investment in their learning and development, it should be very specific for the roles they are to fill. Consider establishing a formalized system with assigned job mentors that pass their knowledge and expertise to the growing leaders.
- Make the succession vision known, involve the new leaders in strategy conversations. In this manner they will practice their leadership skills and get deeper insights on the business development.
- The preparation of your high-potential talents may also include transfers to different departments, job rotations, and on-the-job shadowing. This way the employees will get a chance to have an insider’s view on different jobs in action and have a broader business perspective.
- Give a regular fact-based feedback to the chosen “protégés”: the results of the prospective leaders should be noted and kept track of.
- As suggested by Deloitte Insights, the key to succession planning done well is a right mix of caring for both individual and corporation needs. “The holy grail turns out to be surprisingly obvious but unsurprisingly difficult: balance empathy and attention to human factors with objective decision-making and the organizational discipline to see the process through. The hard part is encouraging current leadership to think and act in ways that enable the organization to achieve this balance. An understanding of human behavior can hold the key to successfully enlisting these vital stakeholders in the effort to identify and develop those who will follow them”.
- Blend succession planning into your hiring strategy. After having identified your internal prospective leaders, take note of the talent gaps within the company and impose your hiring activities accordingly. In this way, the succession management will contribute to your recruiting efforts.
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