Succession Planning…… When, How and Why

The process of identifying and developing new leaders in a company is an initiative that, many times, takes place when a position becomes vacant. Best practices dictate that succession planning be a way of life for a company, rather than an activity that is stimulated by the departure of a key employee. Keeping the leadership pipeline full is the responsibility of senior management, human resources, board members, and other key stakeholders. An ongoing collaborative effort to develop programs and initiatives that leverage internal talent, and provide additional skills to key employees, is imperative to building a talent bench in any company.

Utilizing a position matrix is an effective tool for analyzing the positions within each functional area of a company, and identifying “rising stars”. Conducting a skills analysis of incumbents within a company is a good next step in building a succession planning model. While identifying competencies that are needed within the company in order to fill each tier of management can be time-consuming, it is an invaluable process which provides a foundation for talent management across the organization. Cross-checking the skills that are needed for key positions with the skills that incumbents possess, serves as the baseline for creating development plans to prepare future leadership within a company.

Compensation planning is another pivotal planning tool for effective succession planning. Knowing what trajectory incumbents will take professionally and financially serve as effective career-pathing discussions. Research indicates that having these discussions, with tangible plans which connect performance, career growth and compensation growth, serve as motivation and retention drivers.

Sometimes, it is necessary to bring a candidate in from the external…

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