“Succession planning helps build the bench strength of an organisation to ensure the long-term health, growth, and stability.” – Teala Wilson
Succession planning, also known as replacement planning, is a long systematic process of recognising and developing new leaders (often filled by current employees) to take over the position of older leaders when they leave organisation due to retirement, resignation, sickness or death. The planning is critical for an organisation as it becomes a key role in ensuring organisation run smoothly by the right individual who has the right skills, talents, and capabilities.
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In a fine term, the planning is aimed to fill vacant position shortly before the old leaders leave their position in order to ensure the stability of an organisation.
The role of a leader in an organisation is vital to a business, therefore, the replacement should be done in time, implying that the right time to conduct succession planning is as early as possible.
Susan White, a chief executive officer of Susan Tinder White Consulting LLC, reported that albeit conducting planning early seems like a dawdle when there is no gap to fill, succession planning needs a heavy thought to get the right leader in charge. It is not something that can be done overnight, added White. The most impactful result can be achieved by having HR meeting at least each year – or better yet, multiple times a year.
Moreover, starting early planning will give organisation a room to breathe and the chosen individual time to develop in order to operate successfully during his tenure which results in the greatest return on investment. Starting betimes can also guarantee the engagement as well as alignment between new successors to the new role and goals.
“One of the things we often miss in succession planning is that it should be gradual and thoughtful, with lots of sharing of information and knowledge and perspective, so that it is almost a non-event when it happens.” – Anne M. Mulcahy
Furthermore, discussing and developing new leaders is not an easy task. There are considerations and different steps to train different roles in leadership. And yet – there is general advice every executive could conduct on kick-starting the succession planning.
First move is by examining the workforce, which roles that are likely to be vacant. Doing this can be done together with senior leaders and other stakeholders in a team. This step helps you narrow down your candidate list. When each staff member is analysed, said White, the direct manager will often benefit from valuable insight offered by colleagues that might influence the ratings.
Second step will be evaluating candidates and choosing the right talent for the replacement. However, you should first build the criteria of the right candidacy as well as bring in external opinions to avoid a biased decision.
Last, after you get the right individual whose potential aligns with the new role, you can start early training and development with him. You might also want to give a stress test to see if the candidate is eligible for a leadership role or not, as well as whether their effort is enough to be the next leader.
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