Is your succession plan effective?
Beacon Hill Marketing Team | 08.12.19 - 12:44 PM

Change is inevitable, and even the most valued employees will eventually resign or retire. A succession plan prepares the business for these contingencies by identifying workers with high potential for advancement into critical roles.

Effective succession plans establish who will move into key positions to protect the organization from the potentially negative effects of sudden change. This can reduce the likelihood of rapid employee turnover when a prominent leader exits the organization.

Does your business have a succession plan?

When a member of the leadership team leaves an organization, it can understandably make employees feel nervous about the future. Will the new boss be as effective as the last one? What other major shakeups will occur? An effective succession plan reduces these anxieties and helps everyone process the transition.

"A change in leadership means a change in voice," says Chris Wilcock, Senior Marketing Coordinator for Beacon Hill Staffing Group. "Though the structure of the business isn't changing, teams become accustomed to certain workflows, expectations, and interpretations of how to get the job done that could be disrupted with someone new coming into the fold."

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 40% of organizations don't have a succession plan. Creating one can therefore reduce the risk of employee turnover and prevent cascading negative outcomes.

Who knows about the plan?

A succession plan eases tensions only if everyone knows about it. However, leadership can't promise jobs before they're available. To be transparent, the HR department should include an explanation of succession policies during the onboarding process. These policies should also be available in the employee handbook.

When someone leaves the company and the succession plan goes into action, HR should take that opportunity to demonstrate how it works. For example, if a chief officer departs from the organization, HR can share how the decision was made about who should fill the vacancy.

A formal succession plan can reduce liabilities associated with sudden change in management.A formal succession plan can reduce liabilities associated with sudden change in management.

Does your strategy include resources to train top performers?

Just because someone performs well in their current position, it doesn't mean they're prepared to step into a senior role. This is especially true when workers advance into a management position for the first time. They may have the technical skills to do the job, but do they possess the interpersonal skills to effectively manage a team?

Forbes contributor and leadership strategist John Welsh recommended using a 9-box grid to assess current performance against potential. Strong employees not only work hard at their current job, but also exhibit traits that make them well-suited for additional responsibilities.

Have you built feedback loops into your plan?

Every time you use your succession plan is an opportunity to improve the process. Tracking metrics like employee retention and productivity rates can help you to identify the impact the plan has on the company. For example, if productivity rates drop every time a manager leaves the organization, it may indicate that something is wrong with how HR communicates the transition plan.

Does your succession plan address the need for outsourced talent?

Sometimes, the right person to fill a role cannot be found within your organization. For instance, if your company is planning to expand into a new market or vertical, it may lack the in-house talent to address novel business challenges. In that case, the hiring team may need to look outside the company to find the best person for the role.

A staffing partner can help you identify outside talent to support your needs and business objectives. Expert recruiters can utilize their extensive professional networks to locate and qualify professionals who not only possess the required skills but who also fit well within your organization's culture.

To learn more about how to support your succession plan, speak with an expert consultant at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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