Succession planning is often found on the back burner, and with it, a focus on retention. This makes zero sense. Succession planning is a vital part of keeping a business running with as few hiccups as possible, especially the higher up the ladder your go.
When you find talent that is valued within your company, treat it as such. Creating a program for talent that you already have, to grow into executive positions, puts you strides ahead of the game. The resources that go into executive hiring are vast. Save time and money concentrating on cultivating the talent that you already have.
Succession planning requires, well…planning. Often times, the wishes of a company and the expectations of an employee are two ships passing in the night. Communication and proaction are needed in a successful succession plan.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
As employees climb up the ladder, more and more upper-level stakeholders have a say, or at least they should. Getting everyone on board with the decision for promotion does several things for the company. Firstly, starting a dialogue, you get everyone’s perspective on the decision, making this a more rounded choice. With those relevant weighting in, it also ensures that there will be more of a concensus on final round decision. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, when everyone is engaged from the get go, you don’t wind up with a last minute, crisis-mode decision. Succession planning should start long before the, “We need to fill this postion stat!” panic is even an issue. Those rushed decisions can often lead to a bad hire, and those are the most costly.
Keep Changes in the Industry in Mind
Your choice isn’t set in stone. This should be an evolving process in which the best person for the position is the one who actually gets the position. Create a wish list of the skills and experience that the company needs from their next executive and keep it up to date with every industry trend and fluxuation in mind.
Track Evolving Skills, Engagement and Productivity
This wish list can then serve as your guiding target for the cultivation of the next in-line. Once you have an organized set of data on each potential, keep that up to date as well. For the most part, employees aren’t stagnant creatures, and most certainly, neither is any given industry. The top dog one year, might not look so great the next.
Find Out if the Candidate Has What It Takes
Could this ideal employee for the position step into the role today? If the answer is no, then you need to step up your succession plan. Start molding and mentoring this employee for what may be to come. Worst cast scenario is that they wind up with a whole bunch of valueable skills.
Don’t Forget to Onboard
Cultivating this employee for taking over the position took resources, planing and a group effort. To neglect the facilitation of getting them acclimated would be a waste. Classic onboarding methods still apply here. At this point they know the in-house players that they need to know, you should ensure that you support all relevant relationships to the position. Supply them with a go-to team for support and questions. And above all, make sure that they are getting the proper feedback to help them grow in the position.
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