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January 18th, 2024 · 6 min read

Why succession planning should be a priority for every business

What is succession planning?

What roles and employees is succession planning for?

Why is succession planning important?

Addresses generational challenges

Supports diversity, equity and inclusion

Avoid employee turnover costs

Identify and address skills gaps early on

What goes into effective succession planning?

  • An outline of the critical roles that require succession planning and how those roles (or new roles) might evolve in the future
  • An understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of those positions
  • An understanding of the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in these roles
  • Multiple methods for identifying high-potential talent, including recommendations, professional assessments and conversations with employees
  • L&D tailored for a succession pipeline that nurtures the development of interested high-potential candidates
  • A transition strategy for role takeover, including a succession plan for the role vacated by the incoming replacement 

Internal vs. external succession planning

Internal succession planning: Prioritize learning and development

External succession planning: Finding the right people

Interim leadership

Succession planning best practices

  • Look inside. Your strongest candidates most likely work for you already.
  • Start preparing years ahead. Look lower on the ladder than you might think. Potential leaders need time to grow. 
  • Don’t think of this as planning for a single person. Give yourself a succession pool with multiple candidates to consider, with an eye on future needs of the company, not just current needs
  • Push your people. For curious, high-potential employees, give them challenges outside of their training and experience — maybe a 6-month assignment to solve a difficult problem or a transfer to a wholly unrelated department. With support from more experienced leaders, a dive into the deep end builds agility and courage. When it’s time to step up to the next level, they’ll have the skills and foresight to do so.
  • Provide learning opportunities. Beyond experiential learning, offer workforce education as a continuous resource throughout an employee’s career. This nurtures a culture of learning that will propel your best candidates forward and help fill your succession pool with workers that are ready to hit the ground running. 
  • Update your succession plan regularly. This is a rolling project, not a static one. Look forward to help define what sorts of roles, people and skills the future may require. Review and adjust as needed and schedule action items throughout the year to keep your plan at the ready.

Future-proof your organization with strategic succession planning

You can address talent development challenges