Picture of a female employee going over a project on a white board in front of her coworkers.

Why You Need a Succession Plan in Place

How many of your employees are currently looking for a new job? How many members of your staff will be ready to retire in 5-10 years? What steps are you taking to ensure that your organization can continue to run seamlessly in the event of a sudden departure at a key position? Having a succession plan in place puts your company in a position to maintain consistency in its services and ensure leadership continuity. If you don’t have a succession plan, you are handicapping your organization’s ability to recover from inevitable employee turnover and plan for the future.

Planning for an Uncertain Future

You may look at your current staff and think that there is very little risk of significant turnover any time soon. Perhaps you’re right, but you’re most likely overestimating the loyalty of your employees. Smart business leaders are proactive in their workforce management, meaning that they are as prepared as possible for the unexpected. There are multiple things you need to consider when thinking about the short and long-term future of your staff.

  • Pie chart showing that more than 50 percent of American adults are unhappy at work. The nation’s 75 million baby boomers are hitting retirement age in record numbers. The Pew Research Center estimates that between now and 2030, an average of 10,000 baby boomers will retire every day.[1] If you have employees in this age group, you must expect that they are at least considering retirement.
  • Approximately 30 percent of all employed professionals are looking for new jobs, according to a LinkedIn survey of over 20,000 workers from 29 different companies.[2]
  • More than 50 percent of U.S. adults are unhappy at work. The number one reason is the lack of an opportunity for career advancement.[3]

When you combine the figures above with the shortage of talent available in today’s market, it becomes even more crucial that you have a succession plan in place at your organization. It will help you retain your best employees because you will outline a career path for them and make sure that your company remains in position to succeed no matter who retires or suddenly resigns. Relying on external candidates to fill your important positions assumes that you will quickly be able to recruit and hire people with the appropriate skills and experience. This is not always the case.

How to Set Up Your Succession Plan

If you don’t have a succession plan in place for your most critical positions and most important employees, now is the time to create one. It may seem like an overwhelming proposition to prepare for the inevitable departure of some of your company’s best performers, but it’s much better to be proactive rather than reactive. Take the following steps:

1. Assess Your Key Positions: Nearly every company has positions that need to be filled in order for it to function properly. The first step you must take is to identify these positions that are absolutely critical to the success of your company. In many cases, these are top-level management positions.

2. Determine Position Requirements: What makes the person currently in the position successful? What skills, education and experience are required?

3. Identify Available Talent: Who are your best employees that regularly overperform? Who would be able to assume the position in an interim role? Who are your long-term prospects? Which employees show leadership promise? Which employees are a retention risk? Who is ready for promotional opportunities within the next few years?

Picture of a man and women in a job interview. 4. Address the Skills/Experience Gap: What are the primary development needs for an employee to be ready for the next level within the organization? What skills do they need to add?

5. Create a Career Path: Inform the employees on your radar that you would like to include them in a succession plan and let them know what steps they need to take next.

6. Regularly Monitor Progress & Test Candidates: Once you’ve let employees in your succession plan know what they need to do, be sure to check up on their progress on an annual basis. Also, when possible, give them a test run in the upper level position. A 1-2-week vacation is the perfect time to do this.

Your selected employees will likely feel honored that you’re considering them for a larger role in your organization and be extra motivated to maintain their high level of performance. Done correctly, your succession plan will increase employee morale and maintain your standard of excellence well into the future.

The professionals at TPG HR Services USA are experts in employee motivation and management. We are available anytime to discuss your succession plan needs and to help you secure your organization’s future. Contact us at 732-246-7100 to get started.