Executive Coaching Articles

Succession Planning Assessment

The daily demands of tight deadlines sometimes reduce our focus to the here and now. But good leadership requires long-range planning to insure important preparations are put in place before they are needed.

One way to insure your succession plan is functional and in place is to hold an organization wide assessment. Here are seven reasons why you want to assess your succession plan immediately.

  1. Attrition happens. Good companies prepare for it. Key employees leave companies. Your succession plan can evaluate who is at risk for departure. Are they due to retire? Do they have high demand skills in an underpaying job? Your assessment can reveal if you have properly prepared and trained leadership waiting in the wings to move up.
  1. Reduce company costs of hiring and training. Examine your company’s history of job transitions. How are your year-to-year costs of training and hiring expenses? Are they trending up or down?

Assess your plan to improve company performance in all areas as you train and keep skilled employees. You’ll avoid the hidden costs of turnover such as reduced productivity or lower customer support.

  1. Lower the loss of value from rapid turnovers. Too many new employees cost more than just the hiring and training expenses. A poor succession plan can impact the morale of other employees. It can disrupt progress of projects and cost time and money when there’s a gap in key leadership. A periodic assessment will shore up your plan and save your company excess expenses and loss of product value.
  1. Keep you on top of skills needed in key positions. Your succession plan evaluates the skills and competencies needed for each job. These don’t necessarily stay the same over time. If they are not periodically examined, the organization may end up hiring or promoting unqualified people to the job.
  1. Grow potential talent so they don’t leave. Just as jobs don’t stay the same, people change too. Periodic assessment of employees helps you review their skills and core competencies. It lets you adjust your succession prospects so you can increase your bench and have more people ready to step up.

As you frequently reassess, you are more likely to “nip in the bud” dissatisfied top talent. You’ll be able to give them more satisfying work, increase their pay, or help them find rewarding goals within the company.

  1. Shows concern for employees. When employees feel the company is interested in their progress, their loyalty to the organization increases. A periodic assessment of how your succession plan is functioning can also contribute to employee satisfaction and overall morale. It may reduce stress when employees feel you want them to succeed.
  1. Puts in place a deep bench to support you when you are away. More workers seek life balance. Studies also show workers are more productive when they take vacations and time off. Time off is less restful when employees are constantly called with concerns and come back to the job with all their work still waiting for them.

When you have a deep bench, you have other employees who can step into the breach and fill the job while your key employee is gone. This is a good time to test your succession plan. How well can the potential successor handle the job? It also frees up your key players to take vacations and time off.

If you haven’t taken out your succession plan, dusted it off, and examined it recently, now is the time to do it. It can save your company time, money and avoid costly hiring mistakes. Creating a succession planning system will help you assess your future needs and the talent that is already on board. These actions will provide you with a road map for polishing up your plan. You’ll also keep your workers happy as they feel more secure if there’s someone there to back them up when they need time off.