How to Develop a Succession Plan for Your Organization

December 27, 2019

Think about the future of your organization. You probably have a plan for almost every scenario that could cause you to be unsuccessful. But, have you considered what would happen if one of your leaders chose to leave? This is something that most organizations donít think about until it happens.

According to Forbes, nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. These experienced employees are retiring from their positions, taking their skill sets and your organization specific knowledge with them. This presents a unique challenge. Organizations are struggling to employ talent with similar leadership skills and experience, creating a knowledge gap.

So, what should you do to bridge the gap? Implement a succession plan.

What is a Succession Plan?

Succession planning is the process of building a pipeline of high potential talent to assume senior positions when leaders leave an organization. Just reading the definition, you would probably assume that most organizations already have this covered, right? However, itís highly unlikely. In fact, A study, conducted by Heidrick & Struggles, revealed that 39% of organizations had no viable internal candidates who could immediately replace the CEO if the need arose.

 Whether it's a leader resigning from their position, deciding to retire, or even getting ill, unforeseen occurrences can create gaps in your organization's leadership. This means that you must be prepared for anything. Succession planning is needed to ensure that there is a process in place to ease the transfer of knowledge and responsibilities, especially in your time of need.

 Even if your organization is not experiencing the effects of a leadership change now, within the next few years, you will. Implement a plan for when a key leadership role becomes vacant because the cost of being unprepared could create a crisis.

There are three strategies you should consider when implementing a successful succession planÖ.

Engage Your High Potential Employees

 High Potential Employees are individuals that display the characteristics that your organization values in a leader. These employees show their capabilities to assume senior level roles through theirÖ

  • Passion and ability to learn new skills,
  • Desire for challenges and responsibilities
  • High level of engagement with your organization.

Because high potential Employees show their value in this way, it is important to engage them. If they feel disengaged in your organization, they will seek other opportunities, costing your organization time and money.

To increase high potential employee engagement, fulfill their career development needs. You can do this by giving them a clear growth path and tools to achieve goals along the way. Look past the traditional benefits, such as competitive compensation. They are also looking for you to...

  • Allow access to challenging projects
  • Implement leadership development programs
  • Provide frequent feedback and recognition

Utilizing these tools not only increases your high potential employeeís engagement, but also fortifies your succession plan through increased retention.  

Implement a Coaching Program for Leadership Development

 Implementing a coaching program strengthens your succession pipeline by preparing your future leaders to assume their new role. Coaching programs are designed to be a short-term tool to achieve specific goals and develop competencies. These specific goals set your future leaders on the right track for success within your organization.

 Coaching provides employees with a guide to accomplish short term goals like developing job specific skills. It also gives them a pathway for long term career advancement. Approximately 48% of leaders that underwent coaching exhibited an increase in work quality in a study conducted by Fortune 1000 companies. Additional benefits of coaching for leadership development includeÖ

  • A safe place to gain perspective
  • Learning in a controlled environment
  • Building personal awareness
  • Empowering exceptional work through pin pointing weaknesses
  • Goal setting and tracking progress

A study by Harvard Business Review found that nearly 40% of new CEOs donít meet organizationís expectations within the first year and a half. Coaching employees in your succession pipeline will ease the leadership transition process by developing qualities needed to exceed the expectations of the organization.

Maintain a Lifelong Relationship with Your Leaders and High Potential Employees

 The reality is that you will have leaders and high potential employees that leave your organization. However, that does not mean that you canít include them in your succession plan. Corporate alumni networks provide a means for you to maintain a relationship with them in the future.

By maintaining a relationship with these employees, you are keeping the option open rehire them into your organization. These rehires are called boomerang employees.

Boomerangs are familiar with your organization, which reduces the amount of time spent training new, effective leaders. Rehiring your alumni also brings a fresh perspective acquired from their time away. This can produce new knowledge, bridging the gap for your organization.

The leaders and high potentials in your alumni network are just as important as your current high potential employees. Look to your alumni to fill leadership roles that your current high potentials employees are not ready for. This is a great solution as your alumni have more experience and can act as a guide to their successor.

Request a demo to learn how Insala can help you implement these strategies for your succession plan.

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