Safeguard Your Legacy Through Succession Planning

Jul 16, 2018 5 Min Read

Succession planning is a vital component in an organisation to ensure the sustained success of any business in identifying talent which will fill important roles of organisations in the future or in time of calamity.

It is essential for organisations to have a succession plan to guarantee the person who succeeds the former employee is capable and fits the requirements to replace the employee exiting.

What happens when you do not have a succession plan in place? 

Your legacy could be jeopardised

According to Carol Sankar, the job of a great leader is to identify and mentor their successor(s) who will continue to move the company forward. Remember, there is more at risk than just your business, because it is also your legacy.

If you pass on the baton to someone who is under-trained and incapable, you are not only risking the position you held, but you are also imperilling the organisation’s image.

It will make it harder to find a skilled candidate

The Association for Talent Development reports that 87 percent of organisations find it strenuous to chance upon skilled candidates. These challenges brunt business performance, customer service and growth.

Recruiting is more expensive than training

According to Nick Davis, all organisations need to watch out for the main issue and be prudent with expenditure. Without a succession plan set up, you may wind up in the circumstance where you have to quickly fill an executive position, but you do not have any prevailing, competent employees to fill the position. All things considered, you will need to direct your concentration toward external candidates.

While your recruitment selection process may expose numerous exciting prospects, the expenses of external candidates have a tendency to be significantly higher than the cost of training existing employees. On top of this, they are new to the organisation’s culture, qualities and techniques.

In addition, external candidates tend to obtain lower marks in performance appraisals and are more probable to be laid off when compared to internal employees. For this reason, it benefits you to make the most out of existing talent, and plan for their succession.

Without a succession plan, stress and frustrations escalates

Davis, further stresses ─ if a succession plan is not in place, you are almost assured to suffer the stress and frustration that accompanies lack of preparation. From the moment an employee exits, the pressure is on to find a pertinent replacement, and you have limited time to do so.

Judgments made in hurriedness can often prove unwise, irrespective of how unwavering you are to be systematic and vigilant in your selection.

Recruiting external candidates could impact engagement and retention

Sharyln Lauby emphasises that employees want to know they have a fortuity with the organisation. One way to establish that is through training and development.

You do not have to tell employees they are a part of the succession plan. Consider providing training in problem-solving, conflict resolution, collaboration and decision-making.

Potential disputes

There is a potential for disputes to occur within the organisation when there is no clear succession plan present within the organisation or a department. These disputes happen because employees or people working within the organisation may quarrel because they think they are most competent to fill up the empty spot.

Loss of employee faith in company leadership

According to Jeremy Green, employees will start losing faith in the organisation’s leadership for business to continue and employees will seek other opportunities for fear of ambiguity of business steadiness and their own job security.

No clear direction for the business without a known leader

Jeremy Green also stated that when a person from a business-critical role exits the organisation, and the organisation does not have a succession plan and if the spot stays vacant, it will not bode well for the organisation.

This is especially if it is Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) or a Managing Director’s (MD) position – the mid and lower management will not have a clear path as to what needs to be done.

Image | 123rf

READ: 10 Best Practices For Choosing A Successor
 What needs to be taken into account to ensure success of a succession plan? 

According to Darleen DeRosa, there are two very important elements that need to be taken into account to ensure the success of a succession plan.

1. Identifying the Right People

One of the most important aspects of any succession planning is to find a steady stream of high-potential employees to fill your organisation’s business-critical leadership roles.

Regrettably, there is a common fallacy that a high-performing employee is a high-potential leader. This leads many organisations to put top performers into leadership roles that, honestly, they are not always prepared for.

According to DeRosa, some measures that an organisation can take to make sure it puts the right people into the succession pipeline include creating a success profile for key positions. The first step is to establish what ‘success’ looks like for a specified position.

Consider which skills and behaviours are desirable to make the best use of outcomes for the role, and use these to form the foundation of the assessment criteria.

DeRosa also recommends conducting an assessment to identify those with leadership potential:

Leadership assessments

Leadership assessments recognise high-potential employees by determining important metrics, such as learning agility, strategic thinking and emotional intelligence.

These assessments can also detect potential ‘derails’, or physiognomies and preferences that could disrupt efficiency in a leadership role.

Behavioural interviews

Conducting interviews to assess the employee’s experiences, goals, and past behaviours can be helpful. This can prove critical for recognising a true ‘high-potential’ leadership candidate.

360 feedback

Gather feedback from peers, managers and direct reports whenever possible. A 360 feedback would help provide a wide-ranging representation of a candidate’s potential as a leader.

Potential inventory

A potential inventory (PI) is an assessment that is filled out by an employee’s manager. This assessment delivers a future-focused aspect at the magnitude to which the employee has the potential to take on additional obligations based on a range of dimensions that are aligned with the role and predictive characteristics of high potential.

2. Accelerating development

After determining high-potential candidates, it is paramount to set them up for success. Using the criteria established in the ‘success profile’ and the information collected from the leadership assessments, you can classify skill fissures and modify the development each individual receives to maximise your leadership development outcomes.

These on-the-job learning opportunities for high-potential employees can have a mammoth influence on their aptitude to prepare for a leadership role. They also help validate how a precise skill can be significant for work by creating a real-world example of the skill in action.

There are no strict ways on how to make a succession plan as every organisation would have its own way of planning their succession. It is essential to have a succession plan in order to maintain stability within the organisation.

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Roubeeni Mohan is a former writer at Leaderonomics who believes that written words have a greater impact than words said because it stays longer.

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