Believe it or not, many businesses do not have any contingency plans set in place when the imminent happens; an employee resigns, is fired, retires, gets sick, passes away or is offered a job promotion. Who will undertake the now unfilled job responsibilities? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the position? How can we better prepare to cover this position in the future when the inevitable happens? To help address questions like these and to avoid scrambling in the future, business should look into implementing a succession planning process.

Succession Planning Process Overview

Succession planning—at its core—is a strategy that helps businesses to identify and develop future leaders for advancement within the organization for their employees at every level. It’s also used to create and leverage an array of strategies to help support position fluctuation in the event an employee leaves their position. Succession planning isn’t meant to replace the hiring process for these positions, but enhance them.

succession planning

Succession planning benefits

The benefits of creating a succession planning process for businesses include:

  • Increasing the availability of human capital to fill in for specific roles and management positions when the time calls for it
  • Minimizing the risk of  losing experienced leaders to other places of employment
  • Reducing the need for employers to spend a lot of money searching externally to fill in a needed position
  • Empowering Human Resources (HR) departments to establish formal procedures to support an internal recruitment process for key-leadership positions that currently/or will need to be filled in the future

Important Objectives of Succession Planning

Succession planning is more than just filling in open positions and gaps with competent replacements; it’s really about ensuring the smoothest transition possible.

How are businesses able to ensure a smooth succession planning process? Through a few established objectives of course:

1. Evaluate the future, what goals to strive for and what plans it will take to get there

All companies should have their vision, goals and values identified. They should be asking themselves:

  • What are our growth aspirations?
  • Who are our target markets?
  • What types of services do we want to offer?
  • Who are our highly skilled employees with succession potential?

With all this along with detailed budget forecasts established, they can begin filling out their positions with employees who share the same ideals and vision as the company does to help reach their intended objective quicker and more efficiently.

This entire process is easier for businesses to accomplish with the help of forecasting tools at their disposal.

succession planning

2. Assess current employees, their performance and their skill sets to determine where gaps are

This process can go in a number of ways, but the important factor here is for companies to audit the skill sets of staff internally. To find out the available skill sets within, companies can use a combination of simple surveys to obtain the data as well as having managers evaluate the listed skill sets to determine the accuracy. Businesses can also utilize their data from performance management as well to set up quality feedback and goal setting discussions woth employees.

Once the company acquires and evaluates the data, they can go forward with their plans to improve in areas of business that need the most support.

3. Ask current employees about their aspirations

The goal for any succession planning process is to have an open, transparent dialogue with employees about where their career goals would fit in within your company. You can ask them if they envision themselves in future leadership roles, their current role, but with promotions, or anything else really.

Communicating with employees will help select the ideal candidates for future roles. It is important to note that not all employees aspire to fulfill a management or leadership position. It also may be necessary to create a plan to set them up for success through a mentorship program.

4. After honest discussions, managers need to evaluate for future potential

Managers will need to review the data they have and the time spent along with their overall experiences of working with each individual employee to determine if they are indeed a good candidate for succession. They will need to determine if their employees’ current skills, motivation levels, and ability to adapt, grow and learn make them viable options to fill in the gaps wherever they are needed.

succession planning

5. Once evaluated, let specific employees know there is potential for succession in their future with the organization

A quick way to get employee buy-in is if management directly communicates with them that the company sees their potential and they want to set them up on a succession plan for a future, higher-impact role within. Not every employee is going to fit in with a succession planning process for a company, however, that doesn’t mean they’re blacklisted from succession forever.

This process is meant to be always on-going, so the evaluation process for succession should never be “one-and-done.” People change; their motivations, their ideals, philosophies and more. A “low-level” employee one day may become your top performer the next.

6. Begin the succession process with identified employees

This process is best done when combined with performance management and learning management processes that can be done manually or optimized through the use of cloud-based, automated modules.

Managers need to have continued conversations with employees in the succession planning process to keep them on track and to help fill in the gaps. Conversations should be constructed around:

  • Revising/Revising succession goals and processes on an as needed basis
  • Defining roles and expectations
  • Outlining clear, measurable goals to gauge successes and failures

Some employees may need training and development in other departments to make their succession an accomplishment as well. To help make succession planning a success, a lot of businesses will hold managers accountable for their performance in their ability to help their subordinates fill in crucial skill gaps.

7. Always be improving the program

As employees are moved in and out of a succession planning process, it’s important for companies to take the data compiled over time to study and use to improve the process. With automated reporting tools handy, companies can use data shared from succession and any other processes such as performance and learning management to make improvement decisions based on evidence.

Maximizing Efficiency with Succession Planning Software

Arcoro Succession Planning software is a cloud-based module which gives companies the power to accurately review employee performance and readiness with scorecards, comparative ratings and 9-box Talent Matrices. This module can be integrated with various modules, systems, platforms and more within human capital management (HCM) and enterprise relationship planning (ERP) suites.

The module helps to facilitate the sharing and streamlining of data between administrators and leadership to improve reporting, increase transparency and enhance the decision-making process based on evidence.

Key features with Arcoro’s Succession Planning module include:

  • Access to a talent dashboard
  • Assign tasks, activities and assign feedback partners
  • Identify high-potentials at-a-glance
  • Access to comprehensive reporting on employee evaluations, courses, 360s, certifications and more
  • Succession talent pool or 9Box Matrix
  • Career planning
  • Display competency performance in green/yellow/red
  • Export real-time reports

The cloud-based, full Arcoro HCM platform can be offered by partners as the full suite, or by each individual module. These modules are integrated with over 300 partners and are completely scalable to meet the everchanging requirements of your clientele. The full platform includes:

  • Payroll Processing
  • Benefits Management
  • ACA Compliance
  • Employee self-service (Employee Portal)
  • Performance Management and Feedback Delivery
  • Recruiting and Applicant Tracking
  • Time and Attendance
  • Reporting
  • Learning Management
  • Succession Planning
  • Employee Onboarding
  • Surveys
  • Job Posting and more