Succession planning for your business

Your business must continue to flourish under capable management when you leave or retire from your role, or you die. Here's how to find the right talent to continue your legacy...

You have multi-generational staff working for you - some are young and enthusiastic, while others have many years' of experience to boast about. You need to pick the right team to assure the future of your business. 

succession planning for your business

What is succession planning?

Succession planning gives you the chance to find the right talent to fill the leadership positions that'll be left open when you and other senior execs leave the company or die.

Think about what would happen if you or another leader in the business sudden disappeared. Would the company be vulnerable without your expertise or experience? Those are the roles you must make a succession plan for. 

You can make a succession plan for a cluster of jobs, or general roles, to create a pool of talent. In other words, there are multiple people that could take the helm short-term in an emergency, and others that are more suited to the position in the longer-term.

Who is succession planning for?

Every business in any sector. It's critical for large and small firms that want to sustain the future of the business. 

Do you have the right people for succession?

succession planning for your business 800 x2

When the time comes to leave your job, you should have a multi-generational staff working together to achieve your business objectives.

Some of them are young and enthusiastic, with big ideas. Others have many years' of experience to boast about. You need to pick the right team to assure the future of your business. If that means making some external hired, you can factor that into your plan.

Building a progression path for your pool of talent

As a first step, look at the complexity of your organisation and its varying business needs.

To service the needs of the business, make a company-wide succession plan that nurtures future talent and harnesses the talents of more experienced staff.

Identify your most talented employees and plot where their skills fit into your succession plan.

A strong succession plan should contain a set criteria for progression, helping to identify when a worker is ready to be promoted. 

How do you motivate both the new and eager staff, and the older and wiser employees?

Mentoring programmes for new starters

A budding new starter may be eager and if you give them the training they need to support progress, it shows you're taking their role seriously.

Hosting an induction with new staff members will allow HR professionals to identify aspirations and set them on the right path.

It'll motivate new starters because:

  • They're aware aware that their progression is important
  • They develop organisational and technical skills, knowledge and understanding of the business

Long-term employees become your mentors

By introducing new starters to long-term members of staff, and asking the more experienced staff to mentor them, there's an opportunity to maintain accuracy as the workforce naturally evolves.

For the programme to work successfully, mentors need motivational training, so that they hold the attention of new starters:

  • They must learn to take on board new ideas
  • They must foster energy

Naturally, potential barriers may occur if not positioned correctly by HR Directors – for example, some more experienced individuals may see younger talent as a threat. This needs careful consideration in any succession plan.

But, if they realise their experience is invaluable to the success of the business and they're aware aware that their progression is important, it has every chance of success.

How it worked for Volvo

We worked with Volvo Construction Equipment to create a leadership and management training programme to  identify talent and supplement Volvo's existing succession plan, aimed at developing leaders within the company. 

Since starting the programme in 2010, Volvo Construction Equipment has seen a range of employees from its UK depots broaden their skills and showcase hidden talents.

The cohort of trainees involved in the programme have a wide-ranging skill set, so tailoring modules to suit all backgrounds is crucial.

Through a combination of e-learning, essay writing and presentations, learners gain new skills including finance, health and safety and project management, to fill gaps across the company, enabling them to progress to more senior levels.  

As a result, almost half of those who have undertaken the course to date are celebrating promotions.

So, how do we ensure we are doing our best to retain staff?  

A high promotion rate improves staff morale, motivating employees across the organisation. Having a tailored training programme as part of a succession planning strategy improves confidence and shows people from different job roles they have the ability to take on new tasks.

Tailored training plans have a positive impact on succession planning and business results.

Staff secondments

Training staff in other areas of the business means an employee doesn't have to stay in the same area of work for thirty years.

Staff secondments to other parts of the company can prevent long-term employees from becoming complacent and leave space for new talent, depending on the company succession plan.

TSW Training has worked with International Greetings to deliver a ‘train-the-trainer’ programme, allowing experienced employees to train and mentor those who will later fill their positions.

Above all, it is fundamental to show employees how their development fits in with the overall growth strategy of the business.

Build your succession plan

Now you can maximise your talent and motivate your employees, new and old.

When succession planning, it's vital to consider a tailored and creative strategy which will enable staff to see the wider business picture, and encourage commitment throughout the workforce.

A business only thrives if motivation and loyalty is evident, whether employees are aged 21 or 65.

Related Articles