Succession Planning: Preparation, Not Pre-Selection

There’s an old saying that sums up the main reason why succession planning is important: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Succession planning isn’t easy and when a business is going well, you don’t want to jinx things and start thinking about what might happen if things start going south. 

Planning for Success

The purpose of succession planning is to ensure that a business always has the right leaders in place, should a change need to happen quickly. Failure to create a proper plan for succession can mean a loss in competitive edge, especially if a key team player leaves their position or the company. It’s unlikely that you will be able to anticipate a major event, but you can always prepare your reaction and subsequent action plan on how to address such a situation when it happens. 

After all, you can’t anticipate when a serious illness, accident, disaster or pandemic will strike, but you can prepare for what needs to be addressed should one happen. And while it can be a time-consuming process depending on the size of the company and complexity of certain positions, it helps you protect your company from unexpected turnover.

Managing Your Talent and More

The main benefit of succession planning not only helps you identify employees with unique skills and abilities, but it helps highlight weak areas where training could be tailored to improve performance outcomes. By taking the time to identify capable individuals who are prepared to take on other roles, it ensures ongoing availability of leadership talent and allows you to choose the best person for the position, rather than the best available person. 

Other benefits include:

  • Reduced recruitment costs. Because succession planning finds replacements from within the organization, the organization can save on hiring and training costs that would otherwise go to external recruitment. 
  • Helps identify and address competency gaps. The competency gap is the difference between the current competency level of the employees and the required competency level. It will guide managers and leaders in structuring talent management programs to make sure that the employees are equipped with the required skills to perform more demanding functions.
  • Maintain brand identity. An internal successor can ensure that your company will be led by someone who shares its values and deeply understands the brand promise, its customers, and its employees because they have worked it themselves.

Change can happen fast and unexpectedly. Positioning succession planning as part of your company’s overall growth creates a path for employees to hand off years of knowledge and transition important working relationships. The start may be daunting, but the sooner the planning begins, the quicker your business is secured for the long run.