Succession Planning: Is your talent ready for the future?
By Tashania Morris & Nancy Zentis, Ph.D.
Jim Skimmer, the former CEO of McDonald’s, is known for saying, “Give me the names of two people who could succeed you” (Gale, 2013). Succession planning is extremely critical for the organization and its sustained health. It is extremely important that key employees are identified early and placed on a development plan. Succession planning should not occur in a matter of days, weeks, or even months, it should be set in motion long before it is needed. For example, Jack Flannery spent 20 years at General Electric, and worked in many different capacities and in multiple departments, learning the business before becoming the current CEO. It is imperative that employees are identified and developed as needed, so when the time comes they are equipped with the tools and resources they need to get the job done. If employees are not developed, the organization will be in a constant state of crisis trying to fill leadership positions on an as-needed basis. This is not a strategic way to run an organization. It takes time to groom and develop people in the organization.
Types of Succession Planning Processes:
In order to have a smooth transition, companies must put a succession plan in place that is aligned with the business needs and objectives of the organization. Every position must be taken into consideration and expectations need to be clearly defined. “Create a precise job map for every position that defines the principles, attitude, skills, knowledge, experience, and personality necessary to succeed in the role” (Pawlak, 2018). If a job map is not created, if there isn’t a plan in place, your organization can be left with unqualified leaders taking on a role they are not equipped for.
Simple Replacement Planning
A process that indicates possible internal replacements for critical positions.
Developmental Succession Planning
A process that indicates possible interpersonal replacements for critical positions and also provides for developing individuals to meet the challenges of future organizational change, by grooming them to advance to higher levels of responsibility or to exercise increased technical proficiency in their current jobs.
Talent Pool Planning
A process that indicates a group of possible internal replacements for critical positions and provides for developing groups of people to meet the challenges of future organizational change.
Mistakes companies make when developing a succession plan
- Developing only high potential employees
- Not developing employees early enough
- Being secretive
- Creating a dysfunctional competition
- Succession planning only designed for C Suite
Checklist for Successful Succession Planning:
- Best-practice organizations make succession management part of an overall organizational culture strategy to develop managers at all levels
- Successful planning requires the ongoing commitment of high-level management
- Succession planning must be part of an integrated HR/Talent Management process that includes recruiting, selection, retention, training, development and performance appraisal
- Identify what skills the organization will need in 5, 10 or 15 years
- Critical positions must be identified and included in the Company’s Succession Planning program
- Analyze the workforce and identify who will be eligible for retirement within the next five years
- Managers need to identify the responsibilities, skills, and competencies that will be needed by their replacements
Being proactive and preparing for the inevitable is the best way to safeguard your organization from the unexpected. Every organization will go through a storm at one point or the other, it is not if it comes but when. Is your talent ready for the future?
Gale, S. F. (2013, March 11). Succession Planning Roadmap. Retrieved from www.workforce.com: http:///2013/03/11/succession-planning-roadmap/
Pawlak, M. (2018, 1 29). Roadmap Succession Planning At All Levels Is The Key To Success. Retrieved from www.forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/29/roadmap-succession-planning-at-all-levels-is-the-key-to-success/#7e56ff24a891
Nancy Zentis, Ph.D. is the CEO and Founder of Institute of OD, offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and Professional Development Skills for ongoing learning. As a consultant in the field of OD for many years, she has developed Talent Management and Leadership Development Strategies for many leading organizations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our certification programs and professional development courses, visit our website www.instituteod.com.
Tashania Morris, MSHRM. SHRM-CP, CDF is an intern with IOD providing articles and event planning for GIODN. Her personal mission is to empower, educate and promote change. She can be reached at email@example.com.