Successful Succession Planning: Moving Up When Keys Move On

The loss of key talent can bring an organization’s growth to a standstill.  More often than not, management doesn’t know its operations and productivity may grind to a halt until it’s too late. 

Today’s top companies all face the same difficult challenge: how to develop leaders in order to fulfill succession plans.  A succession plan is an ever-evolving strategy to ensure leadership continuity in the event of a change in key personnel.  The plan defines how the organization will respond to such changes and fill vacancies to ensure success under new leadership.

According to Gartner’s 2019 Future of HR Survey, 86% of leaders believe succession planning is a top priority yet only 14% believe they are doing it well.  HR leaders attribute their succession planning problems to undiversified bench strength and low leadership retention. Taking steps to cultivate your workforce now may mitigate the effects of losing key talent.

Constructing a successful succession plan requires an in-depth mapping of your current workforce to the vision for the future of the organization.  Start by highlighting the areas and positions where an absent employee causes the most disruption to the organization.  Next, spend time identifying the key qualifications, skills, and traits necessary for success in these key positions. Taking these measures will help prevent the organization from hiring unqualified personnel.

Organizations should also evaluate how people will influence their goals for the future.  Is the company on track to expand its services?  Should it be preparing for a merger or acquisition?  Is a large hiring wave or layoff looming on the horizon?  Will growth create a need for geographic expansion?  Answering these broader questions will put organizations in the best position to paint a more accurate picture of its overall and long-range people needs.

If you have questions about succession planning or are in need of expert help, contact our team.