Succession planning — the process of identifying and developing internal talent to take on future leadership roles within an organization — is often looked at as a lengthy, time-consuming exercise that is only necessary for big corporations and C-suite executives. However, succession planning can be a tremendous benefit for all levels of leadership and for all types of businesses, no matter the size.
Some important reasons for implementing a succession planning process within your company are:
If you want your company to flourish in the future, you need to prepare in the present. Merely hoping that you will have well-equipped people to take the reins is a big risk that could potentially put the future of your company in jeopardy. Taking the time now to uncover employees with potential and setting them on a course to prepare them for eventual leadership responsibilities can help you feel confident about the success of your organization down the line.
Leaders leave companies for a variety of reasons — retirement, change in life circumstances, and taking a new role at a different company just to name a few. If you don’t have people with the right skills and experience to take their place, you risk significant disruptions to your daily business operations. Having a succession plan in place helps ensure that you have qualified employees to fill those important positions at the right time, which can keep your organization running smoothly.
When leaders leave a business, they often take years’ worth of institutional knowledge with them. Having a succession plan allows those tenured managers to capture and pass along that vital information to your organization’s up-and-coming class of leaders.
Omnia can attest to the benefits of succession planning based on our own experience. Years ago, a manager at Omnia identified strong players on her team and the functions that they were well suited for taking on within the department. Over time, this leader gave those employees opportunities to learn and manage different responsibilities, growing their skillset and experience. The manager eventually took a position at another organization, and while we were sad to see her go, Omnia did not experience a difficult or lengthy transition after her departure. Because of the preparation done ahead of time in planning for the future of the department, new leaders arose within the team, and the former manager’s responsibilities were smoothly reassigned to the employees who were identified and developed years ago. Projects that were in progress remained on schedule, the workflow moved along without any hiccups, and our customers did not feel any disruption to our service. Now that’s SUCCESSion planning!
So now that you’re convinced of the importance of succession planning, you may be asking, “How do I get started?” Here are 4 steps to help you jumpstart the process.
Determine the roles that are essential for the future growth of your company and the knowledge, skills, and experience that are necessary to perform these roles well.
Identify employees that either already possess or show strong potential to develop the necessary qualities for taking on those key positions within your business. Some ways you can do this are through performance evaluations, 360-degree feedback, and skills assessments. Behavioral assessments also offer valuable insights into a person’s intrinsic traits, strengths, and motivators — all of which can help you determine if someone is the right fit for leadership.
Invest in the employees in your acceleration pool by providing leadership courses, coaching and mentoring, on-the-job training, and other opportunities. Consider allowing them to cross-train with others within the organization and to rotate through various positions to give potential future leaders a well-rounded understanding of the business. Use the information you gain from their performance feedback and behavioral assessments to tailor development plans based on their individual strengths and challenge areas.
Document your succession plan; delineate your process for identifying high-potential employees, creating development and training plans, and the timelines for leadership transitions. Communicate this process to your employees, and emphasize your commitment to growing internal talent for the future of your company.
You know the old adage: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Don’t leave the future of your company and your valued employees to chance. Omnia can help! Our Leadership Style Report gives you and your employees powerful insights into their innate leadership traits — both the characteristics to build upon and the challenges to work on. Contact us today, and let us be your partner in growing your next generation of leaders.