An aging workforce, shrinking talent pool and intensified competition for the right team members put so many organizations under increasing pressure. The benefits of succession planning have never been more apparent, yet few organizations have a plan at all, even for senior leadership positions. With the right plan in place, you can rest a little easier knowing that you’re prepared for inevitable personnel changes and won’t be caught off guard.
How can your organization get started with succession planning? Here are a few tips for kickstarting an effective plan:
- Identify potential roles to plan for: The first step is to identify the critical positions within your organization. Sometimes these positions are leadership roles or they’re mid-level. You should identify roles where the operation, strategy and decision-making of your organization would be dramatically affected if they were to be suddenly empty.
- Define succession criteria: Criteria includes the skillset, experience and training required for potential successors. Does the role need someone with specific technical expertise? Perhaps you need successors with strong leadership skills or the ability and willingness to develop those skills? These criteria act as your benchmark for evaluating the readiness of candidates to fill your roles.
- Pinpoint succession candidates: Think about which team members could potentially step into the identified positions. Ask yourself: If we were to hire for a position internally, who could possibly step into the role? You want to carefully evaluate employees’ performance, potential and readiness to take on higher-level responsibilities.
- Step up professional development efforts: Now that you’ve identified your talent pool, it’s time to focus on the training to get them to where they need to be. This typically involves creating a personalized development plan for potential successors to enhance their skills and knowledge required for future leadership roles.
- Develop a knowledge transfer process: This opens up opportunities for mentoring and coaching for successors and ensures that specialized knowledge and skills don’t leave when a team member walks out the door. Experienced leaders can guide and support successors in their professional growth, while sharing their knowledge and experiences.
- Review and monitor your plan: Regularly monitoring the progress of the succession plan is vital to its success. This typically involves tracking the development and performance of potential successors, evaluating their readiness for advancement and then making any adjustments to the plan.
- Continually update your plan over time: As we mentioned before, succession planning is not a one and done process. It requires review at least yearly to analyze any areas that need adjustment.
Most of all, it’s vital to be proactive with a plan! Sometimes, you’ll know well in advance if a hard-to-replace team member is going to leave. But other times, you’ll be caught off-guard by a sudden employee departure. That’s why you need a plan now. Leah M Joppy and Associates can help you every step of the way with your succession planning. Drafting a succession plan can feel like a daunting task, but with the right coach working with you through the process, it doesn’t have to be. And the result means you won’t have to deal with the upheaval that can come with personnel changes.
Ready to learn more? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.