4 Tips for Succession Planning

Beth Dean 06.01.16
34 Moleskine Notebooks

If a key employee or company leader was unable to return to work, would critical tasks go unfinished? Would the company’s vision or culture be jeopardized? Who could take his or her place?

All key employees do eventually leave their positions, whether it’s for advancement, retirement, other opportunities, or even catastrophes that occur without warning. When those important players leave, it can create a hole in the organization that’s extremely difficult to fill. A solution is succession planning, or identifying and preparing the next person(s) in line to fill the role.

With proper succession planning, companies can prepare for those significant departures and have a replacement ready to transition seamlessly into the role and continue the good work.

Companies should be constantly mining the workforce to find gems within the organization; those special employees who have potential to be more. These 4 tips can help your company find your next superstar:

  1. Identify high performers. Is there an employee you know you can depend on? Someone who just gets it (or could with some guidance)? Someone who conquers their own duties, but you know can handle more? The ideal employee has a mix of performance and potential. 
  2. Embrace differences. Your potential superstar may have very different personality and professional traits than the present one. Its okay to be different, and a workforce with diverse employees and personalities can bring a richer, more vibrant palette of ideas and solutions.
  3. Reassure management. The people currently in key or leadership roles may see the hunt for future replacements as a threat to their positions. Encourage and reward mentorship. But beyond that, foster a company culture that encourages growth and sharing of ideas. Let your current leaders know that succession planning isn’t a hunt to replace them; its a plan that allows them to grow as well.
  4. Obliterate obstructions. Is anything standing in the way of your plan or your superstar’s chances of success? Think about any skills that need to be added or enhanced, company infrastructure that would need to change, and the overall vision of where you want the company to go in the future and your employee’s roles in that journey. Provide thorough training and resources and be transparent in your vision.

For more information on succession planning at your company, please contact Nextep’s HR team.

Need more info on succession planning?

Nextep’s online training library has 5 courses for managers, including 8 critical steps and the transition process. Contact our HR team to learn more!

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