Succession Planning: How to Meet Future Talent Needs

Many leaders believe succession planning is just a replacement strategy. They think of it as another exercise, a means to an end or a human resources task. They couldn’t be more wrong!

Succession planning is a talent and organizational improvement initiative that enables your business or organization to grow and thrive now and in the future.

Why?

Because businesses and organizations can neither succeed nor grow without management talent. It’s really that simple. If you want to build your business and organization, you need to start developing, nurturing and grooming your talent pipeline starting right now.

Three More Reasons Why You Need to Immediately Implement a Succession Planning Strategy

Reason One:  Replacement for Key Employees

Replacing a CEO and key executives is clearly one of the reasons to do a succession plan. However, if you want to grow your business or organization than you need to have replacements identified (and in the process of being prepared) for all key positions within the organization. Remember, executives set strategy, managers implement strategy. You need strength in both areas to succeed.

Executives and managers will leave. It’s a fact of life. They may leave to take another job. They may be fired. They may retire. They may become ill or leave because of a spouse’s relocation. If you think you can just pick up the phone or post an ad on sites like Monster.com and Career Builders.com and get top talent, then you’re living in a dream world.

The truth is: Good talent is hard to find – in both good and bad economies. It’s nearly impossible to find the right combination of skills, behaviors, motivation, organizational fit, and passion when a fast hire is needed (yesterday).

However, if you have a succession plan in place, you’ll have time to manage a smooth transition when an executive or manager’s vacancy is anticipated. Maintaining continuity is important and it results in less cost and less service disruption.

Reason Two: Support Anticipated Growth

This is different than the replacement strategy noted above. In this case, new positions are needed to support growth initiatives like expanding into new markets, creating new products, or initiating new ways to market your products or services.

When anticipating growth, it is important not only to identify internal talent but it is also important to build and maintain a talent network comprised of viable, specialized candidates who currently work for other organizations.

Reason Three: Address and Deal with Talent Shortages

Yes, believe it or not – some industries right now, even in the face of a recession, are experiencing talent shortages. Examples include pharmacy managers, nurse managers, engineers and sales representatives.

If you were to experience a talent shortage right now, how would your organization respond? What strategies would you put in place to avoid a lengthy leadership void?

This may require promoting candidates before they are fully ready for the position. While this will only be done when there are no viable options available, who you select and how you support the candidate’s transition should be thought out in advance. Knee jerk placements and replacements that include fast hires who are “not ready for prime time” do not often fair well.

Succession planning is a process and not an event

Whether you are anticipating turnover and vacancies, planning for growth or working to adjust to talent shortages, you need to manage the process effectively. That’s why we created a white paper focused specifically on, “Talent Recruitment and Integration” at:
http://www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com/resources.php

Succession planning is one of the core initiatives to prepare for the future of your organization. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a replacement strategy, a growth strategy or a talent development strategy. Placing the right people in the right jobs has always been and will continue to be one of your strongest competitive advantages.

© 2010 – 2015, Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest. All rights reserved.