Succession Planning

One of the hardest task of an HR manager in any organization is talent management. It is the process of identifying the existing talent in the organization and then assessing the talent needs, followed by talent acquisition, talent engagement and finally by talent retention. The hardest part of this is not the process of talent acquisition or engagement, but rather it is the supply of talent itself. Most of the business and operating managers are of the notion that there exist an ample amount of talent in the labour market and that talent identification or acquisition would be easy. But the bitter truth is that, talent with the specific skill set and qualities is in scarce quantity in the talent market and thus the talent acquisition strategies should be very streamlined and well-defined so as not to lose out on the desired candidates. But on top of all this, one very important way that should be followed by each and every organization is Succession Planning.

Succession Planning is the process of identification and development of new leaders, usually at the executive level, with the intention to replace the old leaders when they die, retire or they leave the organization abruptly. This is a practice which is followed so that the existing capable leaders develop themselves so that they can assume the positions of the higher authorities as and when that become vacant. Succession planning is extremely important in an organization because of multiple reasons:

  1. Talent resource with the desired skill set is very scarce in the labour market.
  2. If an executive leaves the organization abruptly, there would be no qualified candidate to become the successor of the vacant position.
  3. Even if a candidate is selected to fill the vacant position, there would be loss in terms of acquisition costs, loss of productivity and hence un-productive costs and then the cost of upskilling among the few direct costs.

Considering the fact that talent is scarce in this unpredictable talent market, it is important for every organization to take strategic decisions as to how to implement the succession planning. It is a way by which an organization can plan for the future in case of uncertain events.

Now, while planning on how to conduct succession planning, an organization can follow a few steps. Some of the steps are:

  1.  At first, try to understand that how the organizational structure is going to be affected if some executive at the key position abruptly leaves the organization. And then while charting out the organizational hierarchy structure, identify the employees who play a critical role in the organization.
  2. Try to identify which are the key positions in your organization which if left vacant even for a single day will create a he dent in your organization.
  3. Scanning the organizational hierarchy, try to identify the top and the bottom players, by looking at their performance records, their career growth and majorly by discussing with their managers.
  4. For any single key position, always try to keep more than one option open.
  5. One of the most crucial step is to communicate who is selected and what is the purpose of selection. This communication should be done to both the new selects as well as the key position holders.
  6. After selection of the individuals, provide them the required training so as to make them ready to occupy the upper positions as and when required.

These is the backbone of succession planning which should be followed by every organization so that the entire organizational structure does not crumble down for a key member leaving the organization.