Successful Succession Planning: Builds Bench Strength for the Organization

To maintain a strong organizational structure, employees must be trained and developed to handle challenges. Through the implementation of a succession plan, key members in the organization are identified, trained and developed to tackle problems that may arise in the future. Succession planning guarantees that “high potential” employees are prepared to fill in organizational gaps in times of corporate expansion and loss of key leaders. Organizations should develop a succession plan before it’s too late to safeguard against unforeseen occurrence.                                                                                                                                 

Steps to Develop a Successful Succession Plan

Step – 1 – Identify key positions:                                      

The first step in effective succession planning is to identify the key positions in your business. Usually, these positions are leadership roles such as CEO, CFO, COO, VPs, department managers and subject matter experts. Determine the competencies and experiences required to qualify for each key position.     

Step – 2 – Identify key talents                                                               

The next step is to look for potential employees who have the caliber to fill these roles. To do this you need to know what essential knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are needed in the job. Engage potential candidates about the possibility for professional development in their respective role and beyond. Be sure not to promise anyone a future role.                                                                 

Step – 3 – Assessment of key talents                                                               

Once an employee shows interest and is ready to be trained, you will want to perform a gap analysis. Determine the difference between the KSAs required for the job and the KSAs an employee currently possesses.

Step – 4 – Generate a development plan                                                   

Identify the KSAs an employee lacks to generate an individual development plan that will map out a training agenda and the competencies needed for the employee to reach the intended goal. The method of training depends on what you are trying to accomplish, how much time it will take, and the budget. Two such methods have been described below:

  • Job shadowing – Job Shadowing is when a trainee studies the work a subject-matter expert (SME) does on the job. The purpose of job shadowing is to set up a mentoring relationship for the trainee in a particular area and give trainee a better understanding of the subject they shadow and insight into how decisions are made.
  • Special projects or stretch assignmentsA special project or stretch assignments allows an employee to stretch their current abilities by taking on additional responsibilities to acquire new skills. This is usually done with the accompaniment of oversight and mentoring.

 Step – 5 – Development Monitoring and review
It is important to periodically re-evaluate the succession plan for changes and new development. An annual or semi-annual succession planning review should be held to review progress of key talent and to revise development plan as needed.

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