The Importance of Succession Planning

The Importance of Succession Planning

You’ve got the right people in the right positions; your business is running smoothly, and you feel like you can finally breath and let it be. Wouldn’t that be great if that’s how it worked, it doesn’t. Now is the time to plan for the unforeseen, the attrition, the retirements. This is when succession planning is key.


What is Succession Planning?


Succession planning is the strategic business process in which you determine your critical roles within a company and then identify and develop the skill set for potential successors. One of the biggest benefits of succession planning is that you can keep that institutional knowledge that is so valuable in your organization. By planning and developing your potential pool of internal applicants when positions come available, you are also raising morale and professional development opportunities for your employees.


Another benefit for the company? You are able to build for the unforeseen, the unexpected resignation, or growth of your company.


Identifying Key Positions and Skills


One of the first steps in creating a successful and long-term succession plan, is to identify the key positions that you need to develop in your internal talent. Mapping out the requirements of the position and the skill set that is needed, is crucial in setting up the leadership team that is developing the talent underneath them.


To do this, you are going to want to speak with the people currently in the positions that you have identified. Work with them to review the job description, requirements and skill set that is necessary for someone to be successful in the role. This will help you layout the roadmap to development.


Develop Training, Opportunities and Mentorship


Now that you know which positions you are looking at, and what the requirements are, you can start developing the training necessary to take your staff to that level. This can come in many forms and always involves formal training, informal coaching and getting experience by shadowing or working on projects with leaders.


Does this position have supervisory responsibilities? Develop some supervisory training if you don’t have it. Does this position need to know best practices for interviewing? Do we have the training needed? You don’t need to develop all these trainings yourself. There are a lot of good online trainings or consultants (like me!) that can help you build out this training to be specifically what you are looking for.


Informal coaching and mentorship from these leaders is also going to be crucial. This is especially important when you are working towards keeping institutional knowledge in the company. You are also working to give these employees real-life experience and working side-by-side with your leaders to learn how to handle specific situations and why they are handled that way.


Identifying and Developing Your Talent


You’ve identified the positions and the skills needed, you’ve developed your training and opportunities. Now you need to look at your employees and develop your talent pool. When looking internally at applicants, you want to look at who meets the requirements for the positions, who has the capability and potential to meet these responsibilities. Finally, you want to look at who has an alignment in the business strategy and vision.


Once you have identified your talent pool, you need to look at their individual skill gaps. On top of the training, opportunities to gain experience and mentorship; you want to help each one of these employees to build on their personal gaps. Working with your employees in this holistic view will not only help with succession planning, but morale.


If you are looking at instituting a succession plan and don’t know where to start or go with this. Consider reaching out to someone to help you, whether that would be me or someone else. Succession planning isn’t something that you want to take lightly but is an important part of your business strategy for the future.


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