Being able to anticipate skill gaps and nominating candidates to fill critical roles, as well as supporting the future needs of a company, is paramount to the long term success of an organization.
In best case scenarios, training and learning initiatives are almost always paired with mentoring and coaching opportunities. Assessments and evaluations are fair and transparent, and you’ll have a way to measure competencies meaningfully and to know what impact you are making.
There’s no single best way to manage any human resource activity, let alone succession planning. Techniques that work in some companies, just don’t work in others.
There are 2 ways in which we can think about succession management: replacement planning and talent flow.
Replacement planning is as it sounds, it’s a plan to replace certain people should they leave the company. A Senior Manager may replace a VP for example. The assumption that they would be ready, willing and able to step into a larger role when called upon is a common error. The best employees may not be the best leaders and without mentoring or support, may not fill the shoes of the person they replaced.
These unilateral moves can be detrimental to the overall performance of a department, or company as a whole. Not to mention the overall morale of the employee themselves. It’s in these cases you risk the promoted employee leaving the company and you’ll be stuck trying to find replacements for both positions.
Talent flow is an alternative approach to succession management. This method focuses on identifying skills and competencies that an organization will need in building pools of talent. The actual process of filling vacancies is conducted in real time as roles become available and not necessarily on filling a specific job
Replacement planning and managing talent flow are not mutually exclusive. Companies should, ideally, have a plan for both.
Believe in the growth potential of your workforce and develop people to fill their next best role. Creating positive movement within an organization is the key concept here. A good talent flow emphasizes both what people could be doing in the future as well as current job functions.
It is important to note that whatever method you conduct succession management nothing matters nearly as much as how well the process is designed, supported and implemented.
Developing a good succession management process takes examining the unique needs, culture, and resources of your business and developing strategies to implement a process to go beyond simple replacement planning and building a flow of talent you can use.
If you are interested in discussing succession planning further, one of our consultants would be happy to speak with you.