Succession planning is essential for any enterprise, whether you’re a family business or a large international organisation. Investing in this process ensures stability in leadership for the business, as well as providing for strategic goals and human resources to be aligned, and improving the business’ ability to respond to change. No matter what the size or sector of the business there are a number of key steps involved.
Start with the “why”
When you’re developing a plan of succession the first place to begin is by looking at your reasons for doing so. Is the business moving in a new direction? Are you concerned about key staff being poached by competitors or do you know that departures are coming? Understanding why you need succession planning will enable you to ensure that what you create is intentionally designed for the business’ specific requirements.
As well as the “who”
The next step is to identify the people you want to be involved in the process of succession planning. The right people will have a sound understanding of the business, be positive communicators and process-driven.
Where might planning be thrown off track?
This stage involves identifying those factors outside of the business that could have an impact on whether your succession planning is successful. For example, evolving workplace trends may mean that you need to add a different set of competencies when planning for recruitment into the most important roles. A changing workplace may require a new approach to developing talent.
Align succession and strategy
It’s essential that there is interaction between succession planning and overall strategic business planning. It’s your strategy that will enable you to identify the key roles that succession planning will need to include, for example. It will also be crucial in terms of setting timelines, such as imminent incoming change, or highlighting factors that could have an influence over whether succession planning is going to be truly effective.
Identify your resources
In particular it’s important to look at where potential candidates for succession planning are likely to come from. For most businesses candidates for succession will come from two key sources: internal or external. You may already have the next generation of leaders within the business so identifying potential routes to them will be important. Externally, a wealth of sources exist, from employment agencies to universities, jobs fairs and jobs boards. Whichever combination of options you decide to choose as your candidate pool, make sure that you have a clearly defined set of competencies for each key role.
Put your planning into action
The process of bringing planning off the page and into the process may involve a number of different steps. Start by identifying the timelines involved and ensuring that the people who are key to the process are aware of their role and tasks. Set goals and then put methods in place for tracking them and ensure that you provide for ongoing evaluation of succession planning so that it’s always focused and relevant.
Succession planning is a crucial part of the process of growth and survival for any business today. Find out more by booking onto our Succession Planning Masterclass.