You may be asking yourself, “What is succession planning and why is this important for me?” Succession planning is the ability to build a deep structure through your division to proactively plan for vacancies. SUccession planning also builds the opportunity to develop the next qualified internal candidate can be considered for the position. There are several positive reasons for implementing a succession plan for your division that include: becoming proactive in constract to reactive, form a planned future development program, employee engagement from a learning opportunity, and improving your overall flexibility and organization for when promotions or employees leave.
Succession planning can be accomplished if taken into these smaller and easier to accomplish phases below:
Phase 1 – identify key/critical positions
Not all positions are created equal. Some positions require a unique set of skills or a special outreach of recruitment efforts to fill. Phase one is to identify key and critical position that would benefit from a successor. This includes specialized leadership and constant vacant positions. Keep this list as a focus point for you for future direction.
Phase 2 – Conduct Position Analysis
Ask yourself these questions:
- What factors are affecting this position?
- What competencies or skill sets will be required?
- Are there gaps?
- What strategy is needed to address this position or gap?
- Which is the most difficult to fill or most important to plan, rank these positions for focus.
Phase 3 – Develop a Succession Plan
Once you have a set of positions to focus on and have determined their ranking on needs, the next step is to set up a plan to develop the employees in these positions. A conversation with the current employee on their interest in learning is the first step. I have been amazed in the past when I have discovered a great talent in my departments, prepared a progression analysis for the employee, and when I discuss the opportunity with them – they are not interested! This employee loved what they were doing, was concerned over losing focus on their family life, and continued to be a stable and top-performing employee in their current role for years.
If you discuss the opportunity and the employee is interested, next steps are to begin the cross-training. This should be handled with discretion, as you could disrupt others if they are not chosen. Design a game plan for the areas they will potentially be promoted into and what it will take for the employee to take this position over. Set an in-depth strategy to overcome skill set training, gaps, individuals selected, and target completion dates.
Phase 4 – Monitor, Evaluate, and Review
The final process is to monitor the progress as the employee learns, evaluate if the plan is working, and review the progress with them routinely. Be prepared to convert for unforeseeable changes; the design is not working, the employee needs additional training, etc