In this blog post we share with you a beginner’s guide to succession planning. Succession planning is an essential process in any business. It ensures that your company is prepared for the future, whatever it may bring.

If a key employee leaves your business, it can be damaging to both your business and team. However, if you have the steps and processes of a succession plan in place – you will have the perfect person in mind to fill their shoes.

Good succession planning allows your business to continue moving forward, even during those inevitable changes that come with running a successful business. By creating the plans and processes in advance, you have an excellent tool for retaining your key employees and helping them with their career goals.

Succession planning allows your employees to see where they are heading and you to see where your business is heading. It’s important to note that succession planning is not a one-off task. You need to ensure that your succession plans are living and breathing. As things in your business change, your succession plan needs to change too.

By working with someone outside your business on your succession planning you can ensure it is continuously updated and not forgotten. This is a service we offer and something our clients really appreciate. We can book in an appointment regularly to review the succession plan, but also have dates in between when there are changes in the business that affect your succession plan.

Now you understand what a succession plan is and why it is of benefit to you and your business, please see below for your beginner’s guide to succession planning for your business.

Who Are You as A Company?

We all know that no two businesses are the same. It’s important to recognise this when succession planning. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. You must have a clear idea of who the company is and what you do, to be able to properly plan for your future. Different types of businesses need different types of leaders. By understanding ‘who’ your company is you can better identify the types of leaders you need in your business.

Let’s Look at The Entire Organisation

Now you know who/what your business is, let’s look at the people within your business. This means stepping back and reviewing your current workforce. Some of your employees aren’t in upper leadership roles, but they are essential for supporting people in those positions, and for supporting your business. The key to a successful succession plan is looking at each person and their roles in your business individually. Do you have all the log-ins and content plans for social media from your marketing team? Where does your cleaner store the products and how often do they clean the office? Where are all the clients and potential clients logged by your sales team. How are they logged and what information is needed? Look at each employee individually and make sure you haven’t missed any important information about them or their role.

What’s Your Succession Planning Strategy?

There are lots of different approaches you can take to your succession planning strategy. Which is the best? The one that fits your business and your personality. We can go through your succession planning with you to ensure we take the right approach and strategy, but there are some things that you need to consider too.

  • Do you need a succession plan that covers every single employee within your business? Or would you prefer succession plans for just the leaders and upper management employees?
  • Will you cover the indemnifying and grooming on potential successors in performance reviews? Will this be done for all positions and how will it be done?
  • Do you have any vulnerabilities in your business? For example, are a large percent of your staff close to retiring or are they apprentices looking to grow elsewhere?
  • What is the ultimate goal for your business? What outcomes are you aiming for as a whole business, and for individual departments within your business?

A good succession plan needs to focus on what you can do to preserve the inside knowledge your employees have. This is what drives the productivity for your company and needs to be noted, so it is not lost as employees leave your business.

Who Are The Rock Stars In Your Business?

Once you have looked at the key positions within your company, look at the key workers within your business. Who are the rock stars within your business? Look at the people within your business that would make good successors for the key positions that you have identified? Look at the performance reviews of your employees. Be careful to take personal feelings and attachments out of these decisions. You may find that your most visible employees aren’t actually the most strongly performing. Consider your successors / rock stars, on both their skills and their emotional intelligence. Look for employees that don’t get involved in the drama, those that avoid office gossip and enjoy change.

Are You Prepared For Tough Talks?

When succession planning you may have the perfect successor in mind, but they might not be interested. It’s important that you have those conversation with your employees. Find out what their career goals are and where they see themselves in 5 years. Discuss the development they need and want to help to get them where they want to go. Some employees will be happy in the position they are in and they might not want to move forward. That’s fine – every successful business needs solid performers at every level of the company. By getting the succession planning right you are creating a powerful tool to support you with recruitment and talent retention. It will also help you see which employees are not right for your business. Be prepared to have these tough conversations.

Is Your Growth Only Upwards?

Your employees are the backbone of your business. Those that do a good job day in and day out help your business grow. Some of these employees might not have the potential to grow their career up the ladder, but could they grow their career in a different way? Why not find ways to help your employees grow laterally? They might be doing the perfect job for their skills and personality, or they just don’t want to climb the career ladder. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t offer them growth. Why not position these employees to continuously grow and develop in their current roles? They are rock stars at what they do and how they do it. You just need to make sure they feel valued and part of the success of your business. Ensure they know they are vital to your business and make them feel appreciated.

If you need help creating a succession plan unique to your business, call our team. This is just your beginners guide to succession planning. We can help take your succession planning to the next level.

For more information on the subject of Process and Procedures – please follow the link to our BLOG on this subject.