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Succession planning is the process of recognizing and developing potential future leaders or senior managers as well as individuals to fill other key positions in an organization.
From a development perspective, high potential employees are acknowledged and ''enrolled'' and are then given support and guidance to help develop their knowledge, skills and capabilities for them to advance to more challenging roles.
Actively reviewing your company's goals with the aim to pursue succession planning prepares your organization for expansion, the loss of key employees and promotion opportunities. A study from Booz Allen Hamilton concluded that over their entire tenures, CEOs appointed from within tend to outperform ''outsiders'' when it comes to returns to shareholders. But unplanned successions may lead to large gaps in knowledge.
The process of succession planning include initially identifying key positions within a company, understanding characteristics/competencies needed for the particular position (e.g. technical, behavioral), selecting the appropriate individuals, implementing development processes, and evaluating progress.
Each stage is important and needs to be defined carefully. If the needed competencies are ill defined at the outset, the wrong individuals might be considered; similarly, the more appropriate ones rejected. This is why it is important to bring in an external consultant to help with the process.
There are many benefits to focusing on high-potential workers. However, the risk is that great people might be overlooked. Thus, succession planning initiatives are best done with a professional.
There are ways to be inclusive while also moving particular individuals from within the organization into key positions. Debatably, there are also some situations where an ''outsider'' is more effective to ''shake things up'' so it really is dependent on your business strategy.
• The implementation of succession plan is HR's responsibility
• Identify key positions and competencies within your company
• Channel resources towards individuals with highest potential
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Organizational Psychologist, HRI&C