Succession Planning Basics: Be Prepared!


Take a moment and ponder the importance of a few of the key leaders within your organization. How would one of their resignations affect the state of your business? Employees often tell themselves to work hard, add value to the organization, and become irreplaceable. Incredibly enough, that exact thing tends to happen in all businesses regardless of the size or industry. Employees that stay with a company for an extended period of time often become irreplaceable for a number of reasons and their departure can mean a serious shift in company performance. If the idea of one of your employees jumping ship scares you, then you may be in serious need of Succession Planning Procedures.


Prevent the creation of knowledge silos!


Employees that stick with a company for an extended period of time are often able to do so because of solid work performance. These individuals are then awarded with an increase in compensation, standing, or responsibilities. These increases then prompt further satisfactory performance and learning, leading to further rewards. I probably do not have to explain to you how rewards and incentives work, only that it is an ongoing cycle. These individuals eventually become what are referred to as knowledge silos. These are people within your organization that practically learn to do everything that your average employees cannot, and are counted on to keep the business afloat. While having such strong employees is a blessing, their absence can result in key portions of your business to stop performing optimally. The solution is to promote a training culture amongst your staff and leadership. As your employees learn and master new tasks and skills, there should be an expectation that they bring their colleagues up to snuff (and be rewarded for it).


Have a system in place to identify potential leadership!


The key here is to identify what characteristics and abilities make your current successful leadership so successful. Once these attributes have been identified, do your best to measure them when performing scheduled employee evaluations and while conducting interviews for new hires. Some leadership attributes that can be easily observed are:


  1. Confidence: How do they sound when speaking to staff, customers, and management?

  2. Positivity: Do they seem excited about the work, or are they just trying to get through it?

  3. Influence: Are they able to build relationships easily amongst staff and management?

  4. Resilience: Are they easily shaken? Does frustration affect their performance?

  5. Communication: Do they speak simply with directness?


Create a path of development!


Employee evaluations are often handled as a backward looking process (what went right, what went wrong). However, there is an opportunity here to groom an individual’s future. Companies often implement development plans at the tail end of evaluations. Individuals often appreciate being notified as to where they are and what goals they need to hit to be successful and eventually become leaders as their seniors depart. However, it is not enough to merely set goals, it is critical that the goals have specificity and have metrics by which progress towards those goals can be measured.



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Michael Chiovitti, Chief Talent Strategist

Eden Resources, LLC


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