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Definition of Succession planning

What is the succession planning method?

Succession planning is an approach that ensures no critical positions within a company are left vacant for extended periods of time or filled by individuals lacking the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. Succession planning involves identifying these critical roles as well as potential candidates for these positions.

Typically, companies that implement succession planning conduct cross-training of existing employees and promotions within the company to encourage loyalty and maintain a reserve of candidates who are ready to fill vacant positions as they arise or when new roles are created.

What is the role of HR in succession planning?

As the department within a company that oversees employee well-being and hiring, HR's role is paramount to the success of a succession strategy. It starts with identifying the critical roles and potential successors for these roles and continues with checking the pulse of the company against the outside world to develop flexible approaches to expected and unexpected events.

To do this, an HR department creates and runs programs and courses to train and develop employees' professional skills and prepare them for new responsibilities and environments. HR is responsible for managing the succession process through evaluation and ensuring diversity among the candidates, including individuals with different backgrounds and experiences. Finally, the HR department collects and monitors feedback among employees to understand their perception of the succession planning process and how they view their careers within the company.

What are some of the common mistakes companies make during succession planning?

Succession planning is a delicate process since it’s connected with an employee’s future career and position within a company. Some companies may not approach succession planning with a proper understanding of the time required to develop a clear and organized process. This can lead to miscommunication or a complete lack of communication of the company’s vision and reasons for this plan to its current and future employees. A common mistake is mismanaging expectations. If an employee expects to receive promotions and reach their desired position, but the company's succession plan doesn't account for this, said employee may become disgruntled and leave.

Likewise, companies could assume that the current talent within their organization is enough and doesn't require any extra training or development, especially if sales are high. They may ignore proper documentation of the process, including maintaining an updated list of criteria for candidates for critical roles that reflect current realities. This, in turn, can lead to a lack of regular reviews of positions and employees, which results in the absence of a clear understanding of how to advance within the company.

How does succession planning improve company culture?

The benefits of a well-organized succession plan extend beyond preparing a company for unexpected personnel changes. They also increase employee satisfaction. A clear plan can also be used to recruit exceptional talent. These include:

  • Empowered employees: When they know the company cares for them and is ready to invest in their development, employees feel more loyalty toward the company and are willing to invest more in their work and offer ideas.
  • Career optimism: Employees who know they can advance and gain more responsibility within their company will want to invest more of their time and effort into improving the business.
  • Mentorship opportunities: Sharing expertise and coaching younger colleagues is a great way to give employees a sense of value.
  • Tracking employee value: Through succession planning, a company can evaluate an employee's value to give offer them more opportunities to advance.
  • Professional development possibilities: Succession planning involves training and courses to boost employee skills. These are also social events that build camaraderie among employees.

Key Takeaways

  • Succession planning prepares a company for unexpected events that can leave critical roles vacant by preparing current employees or other candidates to fill these roles.
  • HR plays a key role in succession planning as the department responsible for employee training and well-being.
  • Proper succession planning also improves a company’s culture by creating opportunities for employees that empower them to invest more in their work and provide optimism on their career prospects.

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