Succession Planning

Your Guide to the Succession Planning Process

In this pandemic era when many employees are deciding to switch roles, is your organization prepared? If not, consider implementing a succession planning process, which is a proactive strategy used to identify high potential workers and keep talent in the pipeline.

SHRM defines it as a “future-focused practice of identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform certain functions and then developing a plan to prepare multiple individuals to potentially perform those functions.”

Not only does succession planning help you prepare for the possibility of sudden loss in your organization, your employees will be able to see your investment in them and have increased morale and engagement as a result!

Here are some guiding tips to help you jumpstart your succession planning process:

1. Document current processes and procedure

In any succession planning process, it’s critical to keep a record of each role’s tasks and skills to know what specifically to look for in a successor. Create training manuals that document the responsibilities of each role as to maintain consistency and efficiency when a role needs to be backfilled. This allows new hires to step into their roles more easily.

2. Assess your development resources

Ensure that your employees have access to professional training programs and mentors so they can gain a versatile set of knowledge, skills, and experience. By doing so, you will help your employees improve on and discover various strengths that are key to making them high potential employees (also known as HiPos.) This will give them the advantage of being flexible with the roles they are able to fill.

3. Discuss with your employees

During your succession planning process, it is essential to gauge the interest of the employees that are being considered. Have transparent 1 on 1 check ins with employees and get to know their future goals and what their needs are. Take the time to engage with them to determine their comfort level with changing roles and progression within the company.

4. Review using a talent matrix 

To gain a better grasp on who is best fit for which roles, track your talent’s progress using talent matrices such as 9 box grid. This strategy helps leaders assess employees and creates opportunity for dialogue. After leaders have placed their talent into the 9-box, discuss with them and gather additional insight and perspective on potential candidates.

5. Run a trial with a potential successor

Allow your HiPos to take on some responsibilities of new leadership roles. Take note of which areas need further development. This can also give them the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and gain valuable experience.

There can be many uncertainties and challenges when a company faces an unexpected loss of talent. The sooner you have a succession plan, the easier it is to develop your employees effectively and ensure business continuity!