Succession planning is a complex process that goes beyond simply replacing a key leader as soon as possible. It's about finding someone prepared for the position, with the potential to succeed, who can switch to the role quickly and successfully. The goal is to reduce friction between departments, teams and employees when there is a change at the top, by eliminating the “vacuum” of institutional knowledge. Human resources teams play an important role in succession planning, as it is closely related to workforce planning.
They must have a clear vision of the key functions within an organization and what it would mean if those functions were left vacant. Succession planning is also about preparing employees to take on new roles. Human resources can help with professional development, learning and training, which keeps hiring costs low, improves the employer's brand and increases retention rates. It also helps maintain organizational stability, even in times of profound change.
As the entire generational workforce (mainly baby boomers) retires, the demand for succession planning strategies will increase. Succession planning is not only relevant for large or medium-sized businesses. Even small family businesses should have a plan for successful succession. The first step is to identify key positions and consider which functions are at risk. This requires internal reflection and an understanding of the qualifications that are essential to the company's success.
This could include years of experience, qualifications or licenses, or other “soft skills”.If you have time to plan for succession, you may want to set deadlines for finding a suitable candidate or completing the delivery period. If you're short on time, you may need to adjust your timeline accordingly. When it comes to finding the right candidate during the succession planning process, interviews are not enough. You should also use evaluation centers, case studies or work trials to determine which is the best option. It's also important to consider how a person fits into a company's distinctive culture.
This is especially true during the transfer process, when a new employee gradually learns their new tasks from their future co-workers and team leaders, as well as from their predecessor. Finally, start the succession planning process early - ideally five years in advance - and keep it aligned with your business plan. This will help optimize your hiring process and succession planning strategies for similar positions that may be available.