Building Your Succession Plan
Feb 20, 2023 · 9 mins read ·HR Strategies & Systems
Newton wasn’t wrong when he said we’re standing on the shoulders of giants.
In business, especially those that have been around for quite some time, our predecessors were instrumental in building the company’s culture, operations, and current glory.
But one thing about these giants is that they naturally advance to the next phase—they will soon retire.
Retirement is the stage of life at which one leaves the workforce behind forever.
Most industrialized nations, including the United States, have a national pension or benefits system to augment retirees’ wages, and the usual retirement age in these nations is 65.
Some even opt to retire early to explore other passions in life.
Ultimately, it all boils down to the fact that your office won’t always have the leaders who molded your company into what it is today.
And for this particular reason, you have to start planning. Your next steps, the transitions, and the successors can be ironed out when you have a solid succession plan.
What is succession planning?
Succession planning is an essential step in ensuring your business is ready for the future.
This way, when a key person leaves, you already know who you want to replace them. Ideally, this person has been mentored and prepared for by their predecessor.
Succession planning keeps your company going forward during the inevitably occurring changes that come with operating a business.
Such plans also work wonders for keeping your best workers around since they are the ones who want to know where their careers are going.
Succession planning is also vital in understanding the direction of your company.
The thing about succession planning is that it is your contingency plan. You can’t just spend two hours in a meeting going over your organizational structure before moving on to more important matters.
The finest succession plans are continually evaluated and updated. Therefore, it should be reviewed and updated annually or as needed as internal changes occur.
Succession planning assesses each leader’s abilities, identifies potential replacements both inside and outside the organization, and trains those staff members to be ready to take over in the case of internal replacements.
It impacts owners, employees, and shareholders in major corporations, where the board of directors often supervises succession planning in addition to the chief executive officer (CEO).
For the purpose of eventually taking over higher-level positions, a larger company might train mid-level staff.
Planning for succession is frequently a matter of preparing the next generation to take over the company, especially for small and family-owned enterprises.
Because it takes quite a lot of time and effort, succession planning requires the following:
1. Solid recruitment
Selecting applicants who can advance through the ranks in the future is the aim of recruitment or proper hiring.
For instance, an experienced employee from another company might be courted and prepared for a more senior job.
Training is acquiring new abilities, business knowledge, and certificates. In addition, employees may be required to complete cross-training and job shadowing in all the significant departments as part of their training.
The person can develop a rounded perspective and a detailed understanding of the business through this procedure.
Additionally, the process of cross-training can assist in identifying those workers who need to be more capable of acquiring the diverse skill sets required to run the business.
Kickstarting your succession plan
No matter how big or small your company is, you need talented employees prepared to take over important roles when the current occupants leave.
Developing future leaders for important jobs across all levels of your organization, not simply at the top, is a goal of succession planning. Educating high-potential employees for promotion aids your company in being ready for any eventuality.
So, how do you start building your succession plan? We gathered some tips to help you out:
1. Get to know your organization and its people—all over again
It’s vital to recognize that succession planning is a customized process rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Your firm’s senior management must start with a clear understanding of who your company is to prepare appropriately for its future to get the most significant benefits from succession planning.
You can better identify your organization’s potential new leaders by knowing “who” your company is.
It will also help you determine the skills necessary for your business to succeed. For example, years of experience, credentials or licenses, or other “soft talents” that affect a company’s performance could be included.
You should also assess your current workforce to identify important positions and key workers, keeping in mind that critical personnel may occasionally be found in support roles rather than higher leadership.
The secret to a good succession plan is to review your company, what it needs to succeed, and every employee to ensure that no significant individual or job has been overlooked.
2. Pinpoint your rockstars
After identifying the critical positions, you need to identify two to three individuals who would make suitable replacements for each primary responsibility.
Again, this calls for you to evaluate employee performance objectively and remove personal biases.
The most outgoing workers are frequently the ones selected for promotions. However, your top performers aren’t always the ones who stand out. Because of this, you must thoroughly evaluate each person’s skills and emotional intelligence.
Your most talented workers will be self-aware and socially conscious lifetime learners. Additionally, they’ll be excellent problem-solvers, flexible, and capable of handling increased responsibilities.
Promoting those with a propensity for office drama, resistance to change, and negativity will be a bad idea.
3. Include a handover process
Planning for succession should take into account the person leaving the position.
This is particularly noticeable during the transition period when new employees progressively learn their new job from their potential coworkers, team leaders, and their predecessor.
The handover process shouldn’t be too brief or lengthy—just the right amount of time.
Successors need time to soak in new information and manage complex duties. At the same time, you want your successor to own the position. When the handover process is too long, there’s a high risk they’ll turn into just another version of the predecessor.
As much as possible, you need a new leader who will bring a fresh perspective.
4. Document the company’s new SOPs
The knowledge transfer process should be dynamic, quick, and collaborative, while team leads should have a long-term outlook.
In an ideal world, this would also be accomplished through a company database where institutional knowledge is shared rather than kept secret.
Recording the transfer to identify how the post was filled and guide future procedures is essential. Document the following:
- What were the special requirements for this role?
- Did the handover process go without a hitch? What were the possible factors that contributed to its success?
- Were there any problems during the succession planning and handover process?
- What were the potential gaps that existed?
In the future, this will aid in streamlining your hiring procedure and succession planning tactics for positions that may open up that are comparable.
How Hezum can help your succession planning
An effective succession planning process will require all hands on deck.
This means utilizing an HR solution like Hezum is advantageous because your HR personnel have more time on their hands.
Another advantage of using Hezum in succession planning is its Employee Database feature. Hezum gives you a safe, centralized platform to save information on your employees, departments, and locations.
Your succession planning documents can be saved up here. It is secured, but at the same time, your employees and executives can access it whenever needed.
Do you want to learn more about Hezum and our solutions? Visit our website today.