Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of identifying and preparing suitable employees through mentoring, training and job rotation, to replace key players within an organization as their terms expire.

Source: Wikipedia

Why Succession Plan?

Succession planning is vital to future business success. Good succession planning will help to:

  • Minimizes the disruption in the event of unforeseen circumstances
  • Create a smooth transition in operations when other organisational changes are required
  • Identify skill shortages within the organisation
  • Avoid recruitment & training expenses by identifying existing staff as suitable successors
  • Discover 'hidden resources' - individuals with high levels of competence who may not have previously been considered

In any organisation and/or enterprise it is becoming increasingly important that you are able to ensure that you have the right people, with the right skills and knowledge, operating at all levels across your whole organisation. It’s relatively easy to train and develop existing staff as you have some degree of control and influence over this, however, there are some situations that are sometimes difficult or even impossible to spot or control.

What if a key member of staff were to:

  • Choose to take early retirement?
  • Take their full maternity/paternity leave entitlement?
  • Have an accident at work or at home resulting in long-term absence?
  • Resign and move to another employer?
  • Suffer from a long-term illness, or worse?

How would your business/operation continue, and what adverse impact and consequences might any of the above scenarios cause? It's not wise to leave it to chance, and any forward thinking business should take succession planning seriously. Sadly, it's often considered too time-consuming and difficult a process to undertake.

Succession Plan at the Right Level

Many organisations restrict succession planning to the most senior level of staff within the business (i.e. the CEO position). Planning should be undertaken at every level where a risk of disruption exists should unforeseen events happen. This may even go down to line-level operatives, where a particular person is performing a specialist task (or role) in isolation.

It is down to each level of management in a business to decide if succession planning would be beneficial.