We’ve probably all experienced the stress of a key leader or team member leaving their position, whether it’s a sudden departure or an impending retirement. It can cause uncertainty within an organization and can really rock the boat. Team members have questions about the future and how changes will affect them and their jobs. And there’s the added challenge of finding the right person to fill a vacant position with the required skills and expertise. What if there was a way to make this type of situation easier to handle? It’s called succession planning and it’s a vital, yet often overlooked, tool in helping your organization run smoothly.
What is succession planning? It’s the process of identifying critical positions within your organization and developing an action plan for team members to be ready to fill those positions should they become available. Think of it as an insurance plan that you have the right people in the right jobs when you need them. However, it’s not a one and done kind of task. An effective succession plan should be reevaluated and updated each year or when changes dictate.
There are so many benefits to succession planning, yet many organizations don’t take the time and care required to build an effective plan. However, putting in the effort reaps so many rewards, including the following:
- Helps your organization plan for the future: Change can happen fast and so many organizations are caught off guard when a key team member leaves. With succession planning, leaders continually think about how certain events can affect their department as a whole and it makes them more resilient in the face of unexpected events.
- Assists with knowledge transfer: When a long-time employee retires or leaves for another position, they take their knowledge with them. Succession planning helps to stop this drain on organizations by having future candidates who are ready to take the reins. It opens up the opportunity for mentoring, coaching and education on what it takes to be successful in a future role.
- Promotes training and development: Once your company has identified team members that are interested in moving into senior positions, you can identify any competency gaps and begin preparing them for their eventual roles. This may come in the form of coaching, mentoring, job shadowing or a gradual increase in more advanced responsibilities. Some positions may require certifications or continuing education.
- Helps with long-term talent planning and employee retention: Succession planning improves retention of your top employees by offering them clear opportunities for growth. By planning longer-term, organizations can reduce their reliance on external recruitment and have a pool of experienced employees in-house.
Changes in your team are inevitable. You may not always be able to predict an employee’s departure, but with effective succession planning, you can help achieve continuity and lessen the impact on your organization. Does your department have a succession plan in place? If so, when’s the last time it was updated? Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with your organization to develop an effective succession plan or review your current plan and make suggestions for improvements. We get to know your department and unique needs and walk you through every step of the process (you’ll see a few examples in our next article).
Succession plans are easy to let fall through the cracks, but don’t be caught off-guard if you lose a key member of your team. Contact us at 301-670-0051 or email us at email@example.com to learn more.