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Make your organisation future-ready with succession planning.

There’s an old saying that explains the inherent benefits of succession planning best: If you fail to plan,
you plan to fail.

One of the most disruptive things that can happen to an organisation is the sudden need to replace a
leader. In today’s era where talent is scarcer than ever, it is an even higher priority for most
organisations to prioritise succession planning in their strategy to survive this ever-changing landscape.
HR Leaders should not underestimate the complexity involved and the important linkages to Succession planning programs. Succession planning is a key part of any business continuity program, and the pandemic has helped us realise how critical it is.

Succession planning is a bit like chess where HR professionals must assess the board with an eye on the
next move—and the next five moves thereafter. If one piece falls, the individual must develop a winning
strategy using the remaining pieces. Many organisations don’t think about succession planning until
someone retires or dies. Effective succession planning is critical for organisations to ensure business
continuity, success and achievement of business goals. Around 86% of leaders believe in the urgency and importance of effective succession planning in organisations.

Why is succession planning important? Is it only for top-tier employees of the organisation?

One of the most common myths surrounding the phrase “succession planning” is that it’s only viable for senior-level replacement. This myth has two errors. Firstly, succession planning benefits include
nurturing a prospective candidate for senior, mid-level executives, or any key job position. Secondly, this process goes beyond simple replacement planning.

It’s common to see employees picked for key positions only because they made a better impression on their seniors regarding succession planning. These decisions based on emotional hunches can lead to immense uncertainty.

An effective succession plan equips identified successors with the skills and competencies needed in
their future roles. By using a customised development plan, you can promote employee growth and
ensure your successors make the right impact. HR leaders won’t be scrambling to fill open positions when top leaders leave. Still confused why HR leaders should introduce succession planning to their organisation let us understand its importance in points discussed below.

Why is succession planning important for organisations in today’s time?

1. Guideline for training and development

The correct succession plan helps to guide organisation’s training and development plans and prepare employees for their future role. The succession plan will highlight areas for growth within each
employee so they can develop critical skill sets, empowering them to thrive now and in the future.

2. Promote long-term planning

Businesses that aim for long-term success need to have long-term plans. In the face of rapid change,
organisations need strategic plans to guide their actions. The succession plan helps in creating a path to retirement for top leaders and ensures their expertise is transferred to their successor. By outlining clear plans, HR leaders can curate strategies that suit best to help grow and evolve individuals, teams and organisations.

3. Establishes your legacy

When leaders are aware of their successors, they’re able to provide mentorship and share knowledge.
This way, when top leaders exit, their contributions and impact won’t leave with them. All the hard work put in throughout the years will be translated into future efforts of their successor and leaders can leave a lasting mark on the organisation.

In recent research, it is found that 61% of executives fail within the first 18 months of being promoted or hired due to the lack of succession planning in organisations. Now that you have understood the importance of Succession planning, let us understand the key benefits of inculcating succession planning by HR leaders within the organisations.

Key benefits of succession planning

1. Forget single-succession planning

A big part of agile succession planning is thinking beyond one successor for each role. Since positions
can evolve over time or disappear altogether, consider selecting high-performing individuals and
preparing them for more than one role. Find multiple positions that could be a good fit, see where their
interests lie and help prepare them for success in several potential roles.

2. Build a culture of continuous learning

Succession planning isn’t just about selecting future leaders based on their current skill set. It is also
about understanding leadership potential and encouraging internal candidates to grow their knowledge and skills to fit for any future opportunity. Creating a culture of continuous learning can play a huge role in turning managers into leaders and establishing an agile environment where multiple candidates are being prepared to step into a leadership position.

3. Building competencies

The succession planning process must look at building the competencies and skills for current and future organisational needs. It has been correctly observed that succession planning is about “what is next?” not just “who is next?” There will be multiple sets of competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and abilities) for each position. However, in creating a development plan to build the competencies of succession candidates to be ready for the intended future role, there will be different development plans for each succession candidate which can help them to thrive for upcoming opportunities.

4. Building a Sustainable Pipeline

An effective succession plan is critical for any organisation to achieve long-term success. By having the right people in the right place at the right time, your organisation can expect to deliver on long-term goals and strategies and rebound effectively from departures, retirements and other separations from the company. Those diligently working their way up the pipeline will enjoy a work environment that is focused on their growth and success and in turn, deliver greater engagement and productivity while
being more interested in seeking key leadership roles and taking the necessary steps to get there.

The benefits of succession planning are numerous, but not always well recognised. Most corporate
entities today, regardless of size and location, cannot do without a carefully crafted management
succession plan. In order to minimise risks here are the few points to keep in mind before implementing succession planning.

Things to Consider Before Implementing Your Succession Plan

1. Don’t Focus Solely on Leadership Roles

If you focus too much on leadership roles, you might miss out on opportunities to level up your entire
team. Instead, map out the talent capabilities within your organisation and mitigate the talent gaps left by departing team members. Your succession plan should include all roles that impact the day-to-day
running of your organisation.

2. Keep Communication Open

You must share your plans and processes for succession plans to be successful. Your employees want to know if there is a future for them at the organisations. It’s essential to keep employees informed. It’s a morale booster for the potential candidate if they know everyone is invested in their development and
future.

3. Regularly Review Your Succession Plans and Strategies

One of the most important parts of succession planning is documenting the process. HR leaders need to regularly review succession plans, processes, and strategies to ensure that transitions are smooth and all parties are happy with the way future leaders are chosen, developed, and hired.

Succession planning helps your business prepare for all contingencies by preparing high-potential
workers for advancement. Here are 3 steps to follow for kick-starting the succession planning process at your organisation.

Steps for succession planning: Build your future team with 3 steps.

1. Assess your current and future strategic goals

Top leadership needs to develop and communicate a clear vision and strategic roadmap for your
organisation’s future. This should include a detailed assessment of your current business model, that of
your competition, and all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and any other external factors
that need to be accounted for to hit this strategic goal.

2. Choose your succession planning strategy

HR leaders should evaluate if the organisation’s needs closely align with their existing workforce and strategic goals. A detailed analysis and reports should be created to understand its impact in the future of the organisation and after evaluation a clearer strategy and roadmap for succession planning can come into frame.

  1. Have succession plans been developed for all key positions?
  2. How are your candidates progressing through the decided and planned program?
  3. Are key positions – when made vacant – being filled quickly by one of the groomed candidates?
  4. How effectively are employees performing in their more senior positions? Are they adapting to required changes quickly?

Succession planning is, inherently, a long game. It takes time to develop, and even longer to see the
results of your effort. Those results, however, can mean the difference between smooth transitions of
productivity and knowledge and lost output at critical stages in your company’s strategic growth. A
smooth procedure can only happen if the following things are kept in mind before implementing
effective succession planning.

In today’s ever-changing landscape and in the era of Great Resignation, organisations should not only
plan succession plans for the higher rank employees but also include all the workline employees.
According to a survey, more than a third of HR leaders said they find it difficult to develop effective senior leaders and 45% reported that they struggle to develop good mid-level leaders.

Did you know?
The assessment center helps in identifying and preparing the high-potential performers for the future, ensuring the seamless movement of talent within the organisation. Wondering what are top four assessment center exercises used in succession planning. Read our blog now!

Investing time into succession planning has a great impact on creating and maintaining the plan for any unwanted situations that can arise in the future and also helps in engaging employees by providing
future growth opportunities within the organisation.

2022 is the year of intentional change – especially within the business landscape. While the past two
years presented unknown variables whose effects were shrouded in uncertainty, organisations were
often reactionary to these changes. Introducing succession planning can help HR leaders strengthen to
build the future of the organisation in this rapidly changing business landscape. Most corporate entities
today, regardless of size and location, cannot do without a carefully crafted management succession
plan, talk to our expert now to know more.

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