The absence of an effective succession plan in your business can have unforeseen consequences. A recent article in Forbes highlights the unexpected departure of Intel’s Chief Executive in June as an example of the impact on a business when succession plans aren’t in place.
A rushed approach to succession planning can also have a detrimental effect on your talent management.
Here are some of the common mistakes organizations make in succession planning:
Adopting an informal strategy
When the business is functioning smoothly, it can be easy to overlook the need to plan for the unexpected departure of one of your key employees. Succession planning must be a formally agreed strategy in order to succeed and provide a ready made talent pool for your future vacancies. It should also be aligned with the strategic goals of your business and formally approved by your leadership team.
Ideally, every succession plan should cover the following:
- A formally agreed plan to cover the key roles in your organization.
- Regular reviews of the job descriptions and the skills required for those positions.
- A shortlist of potential internal candidates for each role. If required external candidates can be brought into the mix for comparison at the time.
- Ongoing reviews of the shortlisted internal candidates. This can be achieved through adopting a continuous performance management strategy.
Making assumptions about your talent
Understanding the skillsets and qualifications of your employees should be a given to create an effective succession plan. Investing in talent to ensure their preferred career path aligns with your strategic goals also helps to improve engagement.
Career pathing empowers your employees to chart their own career development within your business, giving them a sense of control over their career. It enables them to analyze their current skills and capabilities, revealing potential for skills development that you didn’t know existed.
Career pathing also reduces the need to recruit externally every time a vacancy arises. As the skills shortage intensifies recruitment is becoming more of a challenge so it makes sense to focus on internal mobility. In the tech sector alone 95% of decision makers admit to making a bad hire. Over a third (38%) acknowledge that the issues are skills based.
Understanding the skills in your own organization is the first step to effective succession planning.
Applying succession plans to the C Suite alone
Successful succession planning is multi-level, rather than exclusively for the C-Suite. As Baby Boomers reach retirement age (it’s estimated there are 10,000 every day) and millennials switch employers more frequently than previous generations, succession planning must be expanded to include all of your employees.
Overlooking the role of continuous performance management
Continuous performance management is essential when it comes to reviewing your succession plans. According to research from Deloitte, 91% of organizations that adopted continuous performance management now have better data to drive people decisions. Taking the time to check-in regularly with your employees within the context of a continuous performance management strategy is more effective than a single annual review. It also ensures that the people identified by HR for potential leadership roles remain engaged and committed to your business.
Failing to support succession planning with technology
Implementing and managing a formal succession plan can become yet another task on your ‘to-do’ list without the technology in place to support your strategy. Modern succession planning software supports your business by providing insight into the capabilities of your workforce and their succession potential. Today’s technology enables HR to evaluate, monitor, engage and develop your existing talent. It also empowers HR to identify skilled employees, accelerate the development of the skills required to be successful and create dedicated talent pools.
To learn more about how to implement a successful succession planning solution, visit our Succession Planning software page. To view succession planning webinars and other center, check out our Learning Center.
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