A succession plan is the blueprint of an organization’s people strategy. And if it is aligned with the company’s growth and business plans it can have many benefits for the organization. Some of the benefits of a well-made succession plan are:
- It helps create a trained talent pool, thus ensuring that critical positions are not affected due to sudden vacancies or due to a lack of the right candidate.
- A succession plan communicates to employees that the company cares about their growth and has plans for their career progression, thus motivating them to perform better. And it can also help reduce employee turnover.
- It lowers hiring costs.
- Succession plans help reduce incidents of wrong hires.
- Succession plans can be used to formulate employee training and development programs.
How to Develop a Strong Succession Plan?
Every organization has its own people requirements and business needs. Thus, each organization has to develop its own process of creating a succession plan. However, there are certain basic steps that form the foundation of all succession plans. And, if you’re working on developing a succession plan for your company, you can start with these steps and form a plan that best aligns with your organization’s objectives.
- Align the Top Management: Involvement of the top management is crucial for creating and implementing a succession plan. If the senior management gives a go ahead, the rest of the employees down the hierarchy will adhere to it and participate in it as required.
- Create a Special Task Force: While succession planning is a part of the HR department, you need to choose people within the team who understand business requirements, ability to identify talent, good communication skills, a trustworthy personality and a good relationship within the organization. People with these skills will be able to get the senior management’s approval for the succession plan, understand the organization’s people and business requirements, and implement the succession plan with ease.
- Decide the Scope of Succession Plans: All the positions in an organization do not need to be a part of the succession plan. Hence before setting out to create a succession plan, it is necessary to identify the critical roles, understand their skill requirements, and figure out if there is a need to include it in the succession plan.
- Define the Objectives of the Succession Plan: Succession plans need to have a clear objective or goal. This ensures that the organization’s resources spent in formulating and implementing the succession plan are not wasted. Some of the common objectives of a succession plan can be:
- A succession plan can be made specifically for finding successors for C-suite positions such as CEO, CFO, and Heads of different departments.
- A succession plan can be created to find the right future fit for middle-level leadership and managerial positions.
- A succession plan can be made for future talent needs based on the company’s growth and expansion plans or to accommodate changing market scenarios.
- A succession plan can be created specially to find replacements for retiring board members or to fill in new positions.
- Assess the Available Talent: One of the main objectives of a succession plan is to identify possible successors for critical positions within the organization. So, once you know the objectives of the succession plan and have the list of critical positions ready, the next stage would be to assess the in-house talent. Understand if you have the kind of people you need to fill in the critical positions if they become vacant in the future. Find out if these people are ready to take over immediately should the need arise. Find out if they need training or need to undertake some courses for upskilling.
- Identify Sources of Hiring External Talent: As much as we may want to find talent in-house, sometimes we just don’t find the right fit. Hence it is important to explore external sources such as professional networks, social media channels, industry bodies and associations, head hunters, industry networking events, employee references, and regular sources such as job sites and colleges.
While some people you meet at industry networking events or connect with on professional networks may not be looking for an immediate change, they may be open to discussing opportunities in the future, hence it is useful to make note of these connections in the succession plan.
- Make the Blueprint of the Organization: Once you have all the above information ready, create an organization chart. Highlight who is currently holding the different positions in the company. List out the names of the people whom you expect to promote should a vacancy arise in any of the critical job roles. Also build in any new positions that you may want to create in the organization and list down the people requirements for these roles. This blueprint will form the foundation of your succession plan.
You can note down the changes and revisions here as you formulate your succession plan. It will provide you an overview of how your organization will look when you implement your succession plan.
- Periodically Review and Revise the Succession Plan: Periodically review and revise your succession plan. Check if all the changes that you have planned are still viable and can be implemented when the need arises.
Apart from conducting periodic reviews, you also need to revisit your succession plan when a selected successor leaves the organization or when a potential new talent joins. When a future successor leaves, you need to reassess the shortlisted candidates and select another candidate. When a new person joins, you should revisit the succession plan to see if the new employee would be a good fit for any of the critical positions in the future and include them in the list of potential successors.
Succession plans are dynamic and need consistent monitoring and assessment. We at Accendo understand just how critical succession planning is for your organization’s and your employees’ success. That is why we’ve digitized and simplified the process. Get in touch with our team to know more about Accendo’s Succession Planning Software and how it can help you build a strong succession plan.
Additional Resources for Succession Planning
- Succession Planning
- Succession Planning Content
- Succession Planning toolkit
- Succession Planning Check List
- Poor Succession-Planning
- Challenges Of Succession Planning
- Succession Planning How To Avoid Promoting the Wrong Person
- Poor Succession Planning
- Succession Planning HR buyers guide
- Succession Planning E Book