Key Tips for Effective Succession Planning in Business

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If top talent at your organization were to abruptly exit, would you have a plan?

Succession planning, the process of identifying internal staff members to fill key positions in the organization when a need presents itself, is an effective talent pool management strategy that can save an organization from a loss of time and resources.

This process identifies specific individuals who are well-equipped to fill the need at the organization, largely in senior management or executive roles. Such planning eases the impact when an employee in a leadership role departs the organization.

In order to be effective, succession planning requires identifying, maintaining, and retaining a steady pipeline of qualified employees that could best fill the most critical roles within your organization.

This method involves identifying qualified employees within the organization that can actively develop their knowledge and skills and be prepared for advancement should the opportunity present itself. Identifying top talent means your organization will be ready to fill these roles once they become available.

Implementation of a successful succession planning strategy must involve correlation between human resources and upper management. Sometimes pairing internal and external methods is best to successfully create a plan; filling a pipeline of qualified candidates takes time and resources and is a necessity to a successful succession plan. Pairing an internal succession program with top talent pipelining and identification efforts may help to ensure success.

With a ready pipeline of talent at hand, more focus can be put toward a leadership program within the organization that entails mentoring and training of successful internal candidates who will be ready to advance when the opportunity arises.

To build a successful succession program:

  • Identify what kinds of skills and attributes are necessary for the role at hand. Individuals are chosen who are likely to have these kinds of skills and who will be able to move forward successfully
  • Bear in Mind varying growth opportunities and what kinds of skills may be necessary for the future of the organization
  • Keep an Eye Out for highly qualified individuals who are likely to fill leadership roles in the future and continue to “groom” these individuals for success
  • Frequently Review your succession program so that the organization can quickly identify talent when necessary

When building an internal succession program, bear in mind the risks. Such risks include alienating the rest of the staff when the focus is on “high-potential individuals” who are likely to advance, promoting only like-minded individuals, and executives who are unwilling to show support to such a program

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