Succession planning is essential for the ongoing success and more efficient transition period of a company when a key lead departs. There is oftentimes a misconception that these leaders won’t move on to pursue other endeavours, and so the step of succession planning can be overlooked. When this happens, it makes the challenge of filling this space all the more difficult and can lead to the overall performance and strategy of your business waning.
REPLACEMENT PLANNING VERSUS SUCCESSION PLANNING
Replacement planning is a reactive response to a major change within your company, the aim being to immediately pinpoint an individual to take over the leadership role, without necessarily undertaking the key development needed to succeed in the role, often resulting in long learning curves for the successor. Moreover, replacement planning focuses on the “now”, and so the best outcome is to identify a candidate that meets a similar skillset to that of the previous leader, leaving little room for growth within the role.
Comparatively, succession planning is a proactive approach that enables a company to pipeline future leaders and ensure their continual development so that, when an individual is called upon to step into a higher position, they have the skillset needed for a smoother transition into the role. As succession planning is a long-term process, employees at all levels can be considered based on their long-term career goals, meaning they have the tools available to continue to develop professionally with a clear view of their future in the company. Not only is it beneficial for a smooth transition of key lead roles, but it also promotes better retention in your company as these employees have a clear road map to their success.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CREATING YOUR SUCCESSION PLAN
• Identify key positions: identify those roles which are vital for business performance and strategic drive and the critical competencies required to carry out this function
• Identify potential successors: Identify high potential employees that could assume these positions with the right development
• Determine individual’s developmental timeframes: how long will it take for the individual to be ready to step into this role? Are they ready to begin focused development now, or is it a more long-term plan?
• Determine developmental needs: what tools and skillsets does the individual need in preparation of stepping into this role? These may be achieved through qualifications, mentorship or on the job training.
• Commit to ongoing succession planning: management should continually work to identify potential future leaders to ensure any talent gaps are accounted for.