7 Steps of Succession Planning for Effective Leaders

Succession Planning has never been as important to company leaders as it is today. In a positive economy and a forecast of a significant skill labor shortage within five years and most companies already starting to face labor retention challenges, it is pertinent for companies to plan strategically for the replacement of current leaders.
  • Identify the most critical roles: An important first step of planning for succession in your company is to identify the most critical roles within your organization. Typically organizations will start with the C-Suite and work down the organization as soon as possible in order to plan succession. However, it is also important to ensure that critical roles that are not necessarily at the top of the organization are immediately covered in the event that the role becomes vacant.
  • Clearly identify skills related to the critical roles. Once you have identified the most critical roles to your organization, conduct a skill inventory relating to the critical roles. Ensure that you understand the skills required in order for an employee to fulfill the duties competently.
  • Identify employees who have such skills or appropriate potential and develop a Talent Pool. Once you are confident regarding the critical roles in your organization and have identified required skills to work in the roles effectively it is time to identify and record the employees within the organization who have such skills or potential to have such skills in the future.
  • Track the Progress of Identified Hi- Potential Employees in the Talent Pool. After the eligible employees within the organization have been identified, it is important to track the progress of, and develop such employees appropriately. Some employees who are eligible today may not necessarily be eligible a year from now if the role requirements change or the person’s progress takes a different direction. Additionally, it is essential that your organization invests in the development of the successor employees to ensure their readiness in the needed time of replacement.
  • Be generous with sharing responsibility : As leaders, we must effectively delegate not only to lessen our load, but to give our employees practice in completing more advanced work. Such opportunities stretch employees to grow as much as lifting heavier weights stretch your muscles to be stronger. Stretch assignments allow employees to develop for future positions prior to being placed in them.
  • Develop Leaders: As mentioned, providing stretch assignments is definitely a way to develop leaders. However, a strategic and careful approach should be used to design a solid plan to develop potential employees comprehensively for the specific assignments.
  • Hire for Potential: Hire for Potential. While it is important to first identify internal employees for potential successors, ensure that when you strategically hire employees who have potential to fulfill needed roles in the future. This step is greatly facilitated when you already have healthy career paths developed within your organization. Nonetheless, this step will save you time and costs in future hiring while increasing the possibility of retention within your organization.
  • While it is important to first identify internal employees for potential successors, ensure that when you strategically hire employees who have potential to fulfill needed roles in the future. This step is greatly facilitated when you already have healthy career paths developed within your organization. Nonetheless, this step will save you time and costs in future hiring while increasing the possibility of retention within your organization. Succession Planning can be a very simple or sophisticated process. However, it’s definitely an essential process for any organization that plans to survive in a growingly people competitive market. Be sure to make succession planning a priority for your organization’s current success and future survival.
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