Succession planning is a series of actions you can take to identify the next leaders of your business. With the right talent management and succession planning tools, you can turn today's star performers into tomorrow's leaders.
Why is succession planning important?
Succession planning is important because as your company grows, so too will your leadership personnel. As an ongoing concern, your organization needs to consider retirement and attrition an unavoidable reality. To ensure the seamless transition of roles and responsibilities without a loss in efficiency, you need to implement succession planning tools in advance.
A succession planning solution should address:
Your business goals. A company needs to make sure its business is aligned around its strategy. In a recent study, Timothy Devinney, a professor of strategy at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, reported that only 29.3% of people can correctly pick the strategy statement of their own organization. Skilled workers only become top performers when their goals are aligned with business objectives and their energy is directed at the right targets.
People performance. The typical business that used performance management and appraisal software shows a reduction of low performers, while the percentage of high performers in the company goes up. A good succession planning software solution should include functionality to plan and track employee training and development. Acquiring new skills can improve worker performance, as well as boost employee engagement.
How to implement a succession plan
Leadership succession planning is a long game. That means the sooner you get started, the better.
Step 1. Identify the essential qualities of your current leadership personnel.
Determine what makes your current leaders successful. It’s likely that their strength profile is a combination of field experience and definable skill. Try to distill those qualities down to the most pertinent and trainable traits.
Step 2. Evaluate your workforce for potential leaders.
Using the criteria developed in Step 1, scour your workforce for employees who have qualities preliminary to those possessed by your current successful leaders. This step requires some projection and speculation—consider bringing in your current leadership to see if they recognize any potential within the company.
Step 3. Devise a cultivation strategy.
Develop a solid course of action that will cultivate the qualities your future leaders will need. Your strategy may take the form of a pointed leadership development program, or a more situational series of skill-building exercises.
Step 4. Put your plan in motion.
Begin developing those select employees into the leaders that will make your organization thrive. The most effective leadership succession planning works as a slow burn, as the transition process occurs gradually, and the nuanced skillset of a leadership position takes time to fully develop.
Keep in mind, the sooner you put your most promising employees on track to fulfill your organizational goals, the more prepared they’ll be when the time comes. Take care to consistently monitor those employees and evaluate their leadership readiness.
You will be able to measure the impact of good leadership succession planning in three ways:
1. Cost savings: The automation of manual processes saves time, and the increased focus on talent management reduces employee turnover.
2. Revenue growth: You will more easily identify the best internal candidates for open leadership jobs and position your company for success.
3. Improved employee productivity: Better talent management enables your organization to retain more high performers, thus improving productivity.