How to Build a Long-Term Talent Strategy with Succession Planning
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected and to have a backup plan ready and waiting. Organizations often have a business continuity plan to help them survive natural disasters, but many small and mid-sized businesses might not be taking advantage of a simple and effective human resources strategy in their toolbox—a succession plan.
In a December 3, 2020, succession-planning webinar, host Susan Crowder, a Senior HR Advisor for G&A Partners, broke down the succession-planning process and explained its importance to organizations of every size.
“Succession planning provides a way to identify key positions within your organization,” she said. “It helps you look at what positions are critical, which individuals have potential to help you with those critical positions, and [it helps you create] pathways to prepare those individuals for growth and to fill those key positions.”
Crowder said that not having a succession plan in place could result in a lack of leadership and could put important business objectives at risk of noncompletion. It could also result in conflicts that, when left unresolved, could spell disaster for employee morale and the company’s culture.
“It’s really important that you’re cultivating your employees and investing that time in them," Crowder said. "Make sure that they understand how important they are to your organization and that you want to help them grow and develop, and you’re giving them the opportunities to do that. You can do that very easily with a succession plan.”
A succession plan is “an excellent retention tool,” she said, and retaining talent should be an objective and priority for every organization, especially for smaller, privately held companies. Crowder said that in this group when a transition occurs between the first and second generation of employees, the skillsets and knowledge that are lost will result in a 60% failure rate. That number gets worse with the third generation, she said, which suffers from a 90% failure rate.
“It’s important to build your bench strength,” Crowder said. “You need to have players in place to fill roles if you are going to have a loss of a role. Currently, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day in the United States. That can leave a pretty significant gap in many of our businesses.”
The sooner you put a succession plan in place, the better, she said.
“It’s amazing how much can change in only a matter of months,” Crowder said. “If you look at 2020, we had a lot of unexpected changes that happened this year particularly because of the pandemic.
“I know many of us get busy with other priorities and other customers and sales and other things that seem important, but your employees are really critical to your business. I think many of us forget that if we didn’t have our employees, we might not have a business. Make sure that you’re investing in those employees. Having the right people in place is more important than ever.”
Learn the five steps to preparing a successful succession plan by watching the webinar, below. Download the slides here.