The Importance of Succession Planning

By Roxanna Coldiron

Imagine what would happen if top executives retired, quit or otherwise left your organization today. Would you have any employees who could fill in the gap? Succession planning provides a solution for companies to fill future roles within the organization.

Whether your organization wants to identify the leaders in your company or cross-train employees for various positions, a succession plan is a must for companies that want continued growth during leadership changes and top executive departures.

How to develop a succession plan

Understand your organization’s long-term goals. Which direction does the company want to take in the future? What is your organization’s vision for future growth? The succession strategy needs to have the company’s long-term goals in mind.

Internal employees often make the best successors. When creating a succession plan, identify the employees who would best be able to take on leadership roles. These employees understand the company’s mission and goals, and they are equipped to handle the everyday tasks of running the organization. Look for those employees who have the skills your leadership positions require, as well as employees who have shown drive for success within the organization. Do their goals line up well with the organization’s goals? If so, work with human resources and incorporate a cross-training program for the employees you have identified for succession roles.

Develop key employees to fill every position within your organization. Training and mentoring employees for future leadership roles will prove to be invaluable in the future. Make sure to consider everyone at your company. Undiscovered talent could exist in unlikely departments. Leadership requires a combination of education, experience, talent, and people skills for the success of the company, and future leaders need to have a thorough understanding of the business and its operations. This can be done through a combination of education, cross-training sessions, and mentorship.

Identify employees within each department who could fill leadership roles. These employees would be able to step in if a manager or supervisor is promoted or leaves the organization. Go beyond the performance review and give employees trial runs as leaders. Employees should feel ownership for their work and receive constructive feedback.

Preparing your employees for succession

Employees want to understand their career paths. How can they grow within your organization? What roles are they being trained to fill? Motivate your employees throughout your succession planning process. You will also want to retain good employees, so consider the types of benefits that your organization can provide. Financial wellness benefits, such as student loan debt repayment, can be a great retention strategy.

Preparing employees for succession means that your organization is equipped to handle both expected and unexpected changes. Why risk not knowing if your employees can handle a change in leadership or the growth of the company? Your organization will be prepared for growth or restructuring without the stress and worry of lacking quality replacements.



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