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Succession Planning: The Benefits & Important Questions to Consider

3 min read
succession planning

Effective succession planning is a strategy for identifying and training potential leaders to help them advance professionally. When there is a good succession plan in place, it means there will always be a trained employee who can take over a position when an employee leaves or changes their role.

In the article, we will explain what succession planning is, the benefits it brings to companies and a step-by-step guide to help you build an effective succession plan within your company.

What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a process that companies use to train employees for leadership roles. The strategy is used to retain company talent by training existing employees to replace positions of a higher level.

Why is Succession Planning Important for Companies? 

Succession planning plays a vital role in the talent management process. It helps companies to identify key roles in the organisation. Enabling them to recognise employees with the right skills for any positions that need to be filled.


Succession Planning

Benefits of Succession Planning for Organisations

Succession planning is a great strategy for any company. Companies need to be ready for when employees leave or change positions, whether it’s planned such as a promotion or retirement, or an unexpected resignation.

Here are some of the key benefits of succession planning for companies:

  • Increased employee engagement: A succession plan demonstrates how much you value your employees. Recognising and rewarding high performers gives employees a clear goal to work towards beyond the business objective.
  • Cost-effective: A succession plan sources internal candidates so that companies can spend less on hiring, onboarding and training.
  • Stronger internal hires: Employees are more motivated knowing that their hard work is recognised which leads to a greater quality of work and performance. Internal hires are less of a risk.
  • Reduced hiring time: Some positions can take a while to fill, and this can cause a huge delay in terms of project management and production.
  • Maintain company growth plan: By training your existing employees, you can support your growth plan by already having the necessary employees ready to step into any new roles.
  • Promoting career development: In this competitive job market, candidates are searching for companies with clear career development plans in place.
  • Company reputation: With a strong succession plan in place, you prove to potential candidates and clients your willingness to invest in your employees, improving your company reputation and culture.
  • Positively affects business: By empowering your employees and enabling them to grow professionally, you make your organisation more competitive, keeping on top of industry trends and developing sought-after skills.


A step-by-step guide to Succession Planning

In order to be efficient, you need to have a succession plan in place. We’ve broken succession planning down into three key stages with clear step-by-step instructions to help you build an effective succession plan for your employees.

Here are some of the general steps you’ll need to take:

First Stage: The Assessment Phase

Step 1: Identify any business challenges in the upcoming years

Start by mapping out who your company is and any potential challenges you may face in the coming years to plan properly for its future

Step 2: Identify the key positions and qualifications that influence success in your company

Step 3: Assess the risk of those positions becoming unfilled

Second Stage: The Evaluation phase

Step 4: Consider potential employees for these roles

Step 5: Select the competencies individuals will need to be successful in positions and to meet identified business challenges

Final Stage: Development phase

Step 6: Encourage knowledge sharing and development before skilled individuals leave the company

Step 7: Develop a talent pool ready to step into critical positions through targeted career development strategies

Essential Succession Planning Questions

A good succession plan is essential to the future success of your organisation. A key part of this is through knowing the right questions to ask. Here are some questions to consider when creating a succession plan for your organisation:

  • What are the employee’s career goals? Are they realistic?
  • Are their goals compatible with the organisational goals and needs?
  • What actions has the employee completed so far? How successful were they?
  • In what areas do you think the employee needs to develop new or more specific skills?
  • Which resources, training, or experiences can you provide to help them reach their goal? Is there additional knowledge, certification, or education the employee needs to acquire?

Succession Planning With HR Software

Make your Succession Planning process easier with the help of HR software. With employee performance review tools, training management systems, and talent acquisition, Factorial makes this overall process simpler and more efficient.

a free trial of factorial hr software

Ultimately, it’s important to consider that Succession Planning isn’t always the best option for your company. That’s why it’s important to identify the talent you need in order to replace a key position. Therefore, you may need to turn to external candidates as you may not have any internal employees who meet the requirements of the role.  Not to mention, even if an internal employee is a perfect candidate for the role, they may not be interested in transitioning.

Related video: What is a Performance Improvement Plan? In this video, we discuss how to give your workers a roadmap to increased success. 

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