Succession Planning: Ensuring a Smooth Transition for the Future

Succession planning is a strategic process that organizations use to identify and develop employees within the company to fill key positions when they become vacant. The primary goal of succession planning is to ensure a smooth transition of leadership and maintain the long-term success and stability of the organization.

According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the big problems of the organizations is the lack of preparedness to replace strategic roles. However, the preparation is only part of the problem. An equal challenge, the consultant Ram Charan wrote in 2005, is that all too often, “CEOs are being replaced badly.” Therefore, companies need to have a succession plan in place to avoid disruption and loss of productivity.

Why should you work on a Succession plan?

Having a succession plan is essential for several reasons. It prepares the organization for future challenges and opportunities by developing a pool of qualified and capable candidates. It enhances employee engagement and loyalty by providing them with career development and advancement opportunities. Furthermore, it improves the diversity and inclusion of the workforce by fostering a culture of equal opportunity. Finally, it can also save time and money by reducing the need for external recruitment and training.

When should you start planning?

The Succession Planning should begin long before a key leader or a person with a strategic position retires or leaves the company. Identifying potential successors and providing them with training and mentorship opportunities can take years. The earlier you start, the better prepared you’ll be when the need for a transition arises.

How to start a great Succession Program

Here are some steps that can help to create a robust succession planning program.

Map the key roles

Not every position in your organization requires a detailed succession plan. Focus on key roles, levels, and functions that are critical, typically those in upper management or specialized areas where expertise is crucial. These roles are often more challenging to fill externally, making internal development essential.

Define the criteria

Define the criteria and competencies necessary for success in the identified roles. This helps in assessing potential candidates objectively and guides their development paths.

Assess and provide feedback

Regularly assess your potential successors to monitor their progress and identify areas that need improvement. Create tailored development plans to address their skill gaps and ensure they are well-prepared for their future roles. The preparations may include coaching, mentoring, training, job rotation, shadowing, feedback, and evaluation.

Review and adapt

Periodically adjust your succession plan as the needs of your organization and the competitive landscape change. Flexibility is key to a successful plan.

Succession planning is not just a strategy; it’s an investment in the future of your organization. By following these tips, you can create a robust succession planning program that will ensure the long-term success of your organization.

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Hana Campos

HR Develpoment Analyst - Career Advisor

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