Talent comes and goes in any business. Circumstances change and employees find themselves ready to move on or move up. Their role becomes vacant and requires a fresh face. Are you prepared for that day?  

Core roles (and ideally every role) require a succession planning strategy to prepare for this eventuality. Succession planning helps you mitigate the risk of business interruption and empowers the new employee to step into the role quickly. It streamlines the process for HR, the successor, and every stakeholder who depends on them. 

What does every strategy need? Make sure your succession strategy includes these three must-haves. 

A Career Development Focus 

Every role is part of the overall organizational strategy, and it’s important to treat succession in a way that recognizes this. 

In other words, make sure your organization invests in ways that prevent mission-critical talent gaps by investing in training and development for pools of people likely to step up into new roles. Don’t limit the program to formal leadership training. Coaching and mentorship systems are also excellent wants to grow your talent pool’s skills and drive engagement at the same time. 

Clear Communication Plans 

Communication is key when planning for a successor, and you need to consider both internal and external communication. 

One common complaint from current employees is a lack of transparency. The current role occupant and HR may already have a pool of candidates or even a chosen successor but neglect to tell their choice about what’s happening. Those with a future need to know they are under consideration so they can accept and work towards the move or opt to decline and stay in their position. 

The same is true if it’s agreed to recruit new talent for the role. Someone who believes they’re the next logical choice could walk away if you bring in an external candidate with no communication. 

Communication keeps the process fair and gives everyone equal opportunity to participate in their future at the company. In today’s virtual landscape – there are a number of exceptional programs available that combine both virtual leadership development with live video one on one coaching. 

Checks and Balances 

Even when you have an eagle-eye view of the company, personal bias can creep into succession planning strategies. In our experience, the “obvious choice” is rarely the best choice. 

To help eliminate bias, introduce checks and balances into the system. Create a panel system or ask for outside analysis from HR or management professionals. The end goal is to find an employee or candidate who has the skills and attitude necessary to succeed — not to reward someone based on perceived performance. 

Succession Planning Pays Off Every Time 

How will the current occupant hand off the baton — and who will it go to? You need a clear indication before their two-week notice comes due. 

However, you need more than a name and a transition plan. A succession strategy focused on talent development, clear communication, and eliminating bias will help you find the right fit for the role. 

Your talent pipeline is in constant flux. M3 Placement & Partnership can help with our Talent Solutions programs. Connect with us to learn more about how we help employers and candidates create opportunities.