How to Create a Succession Plan in 7 Easy Steps

Succession planning is the process where an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company.

Mike Erney, Managing Partner of Capstone Search Advisors said, “Effective succession planning provides enhanced employee development, which leads to improved employee morale and engagement, increased workforce productivity, and goal achievement.”

In this process, you ensure that you will never have a key role open for which another employee is not prepared. This is also significant as you develop your talent bench strength within your organization.

“Succession planning is of critical importance. It serves as a contingency plan and keeps the organization well prepared for any sudden attrition that may happen and reduces the impact of losing key employees. It also improves the overall bench strength of the company,” said Erney.

Here are seven tips to kick-start your succession planning:

Be proactive with succession planning. Finding the right candidate for a leadership role doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and a well-planned strategy. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a replacement in the near future, prepping someone to assume an important role creates an invaluable safety net.

Look at your entire organization. The next step is to assess your current workforce to identify key positions and key employees. A succession plan that focuses only on the CEO or C-suite is incomplete and at risk. It’s important to have a strategy in place that focuses on the whole organization.

Make your vision known. Include potential managers in strategy conversations to help them acquire planning and leadership skills, as well as a broad vision of the organization and its objectives. Consider sharing your succession planning with HR and your board of directors.

Give honest feedback to rockstars. When someone outperforms on a project, make a note of it. Keep track of these achievements in a top-performer file so you have something to reference the next time a management position opens. Diligently chronicling topics like strong work and achievement will also come in handy during performance reviews.

Offer learning and development. As you identify your top performers, offer mentoring relationships, job shadowing, and training, to help them develop new skills and refine existing ones. Remember that good leaders not only need technical acumen but also strong interpersonal skills, including standout verbal and written communication abilities.

Trial run of your succession plan. A vacation is a great time to have a potential successor step in to assume some responsibilities. The employee will gain experience while you learn how prepared the person is to take on a bigger role.

Use your plan to develop a hiring strategy. Once you’ve identified internal employees as successors for key roles in your organization, take note of any talent gaps. In this way, the succession planning process can help you identify where to focus your recruiting efforts.

Creating a succession plan will keep your business moving forward and is an investment in your company’s future. And such plans serve as an excellent tool for retaining your strongest performers. Knowing the importance of identifying potential future leaders and developing a succession plan, helps employees feel valued for their contributions and eager to realize their potential within the company.

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