It's quite scary to learn how many businesses do not have a robust and transparent succession planning process in place. Be it an SME or even a larger established organisation and household brand.
There seems to have been a lack of focus on establishing talent development and progression internally in a lot of organisations. (Well certainly the ones we've had recent contact with! -Ed).
Ask yourself the question as you read this..."who do I know who's able to step in to my shoes?" If you're struggling with a name...or wouldn't want that person doing more than a temporary role in keeping those shoes warm, then alarms should be ringing!
From a commercial sense its so much more cost effective to identify and develop internal talent, rather than advertise, assess, recruit, train and induct.
From a cultural sense its a great way of engaging the workforce. If they can see internal progression all the way to the top what better motivator for their continued input and performance.
So why do so many organisations not have it high on their agenda? Perhaps there is a mis-conception its "HR's responsibility" or a concern about how to go about it.
Here's a simple 4 step guide for effective succession planning.
1. Pre-empt - Understand the business strategy, the market and the internal infrastructure. What skills, roles, leaders, competencies are you going to need in a year? 5 years? 10 years? Map out the requirements
2. Current position. Utilise Skills matrix, Performance Management data, feedback to identify current levels of competency and potential within exisitng workfoce.
3. Establish a talent pool. Be transparent and honest but identify your talent pool. Who are your top 10, 20, 30 (depending on the size of the workforce) high potential people? Communicate don't hibernate this information. It should not be a secret club! All the workforce should be aware of the pool and the criteria for assessment and entry.
3. Nurture. Set in place development plans, training, mentoring programs to further develop the capabilities of those identified. Manage their performance, de-select if necessary.
4. Monitor. Measure the progress, appointment and progress of the talent pool individuals in order to assess effectiveness. Use success stories to recruit and motivate further talent.
By applying these simple steps you can easily establish an effective succession planning process that will benefit the business.