Three Reasons to Consider Succession Planning

As we consider the employee experience, we often think about the journey employees take from job candidate to longtime, successful contributor.

  • We onboard them in the hopes they’ll start with a strong foundation.
  • We train and prepare them to perform key tasks.
  • Ongoing development helps them grow into future roles.

In between, we go through career planning and mapping, job shadowing, and performance management. But where does succession planning fit into the employee experience?

The Role of Succession Planning

Succession planning is about preparing for when employees leave. They could be retiring, moving up to a new workgroup or department, or heading to a new career opportunity elsewhere. Succession planning also takes into account the sudden loss of an employee due to death, injury, or extended illness that prevents them from returning to work.

When done well, succession planning can help you identify and develop new leaders and managers to replace employees seamlessly, without a major skill gap or knowledge vacuum.

Below, we’ll discuss three reasons why now could be a good time to begin building your succession plan strategy, especially if you’re concerned about an unexpected change in your workplace population.  


Succession planning is another way to identify and prepare talented employees for growth within your organization. This can be a boost to your retention goals. Download the Spotlight report, “Improve Employee Retention,” to discover other tips that can support retention.

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Why Build a Succession Plan Strategy?

Plenty of organizations overlook the topic of succession. It’s not because they’re avoiding it. Rather, it can be difficult to identify the right time to get started, or why it matters at all.

Just talking about succession planning can be an essential conversation to have, especially in a labor market such as this one.

In many ways, succession planning is about looking over the current landscape of your business, and projecting into the future.

  • It helps you identify talented employees who might be ready to take on new roles.
  • Succession planning can also help create safeguards to make sure your business continues to run smoothly in the event of a sudden employee departure.

Consider:

  • Which workers hold the keys to a great deal of organizational knowledge?
  • To whom do others turn when they need help figuring out key practices and policies?
  • What would happen if certain workers left without notice? Are you prepared to replace them?
  • Is the knowledge that certain employees possess documented?

Succession planning is not something that only large organizations should consider.

In fact, succession planning can lend valuable insight for small- and mid-sized organizations, even those that lack formal management or training programs.

Here are three reasons why now could be a good time to start your succession plan strategy:

1. Workplace demographic might work in your favor.

When workplace demographics shift, this can create a new level of competition in your industry.

Sometimes, the shift is generational, but it doesn’t always manifest in a predictable way. For instance: it’s one thing to say that Baby Boomers are getting ready to retire, but does the data agree?

A recent review by Deloitte suggests that, by 2024, workplace participation by workers ages 65 and older will actually grow. That’s because many Boomers, as well as Gen Xers, are prepared to work longer, perhaps even into their mid-70s.

With that said, it’s important to note that working later in age doesn’t equate to working forever. Your older, more experienced workers can play a key role in helping you harvest and share important organizational knowledge, and train younger or less-experienced workers through mentorships, job shadowing, and job shares.

2. Succession planning can help you identify and fill skill gaps.

Putting together a succession plan involves exploring and communicating the types of skillsets that a certain position demands. It’s possible that as you explore skills with the help of key employees, you might discover that your organization lacks a viable replacement. Then what?

Gathering this type of information can trigger your organization to take steps that will help fill the gap.

  • Among your current employees, who is the closest fit? What types of trainings or experiences can help them accelerate their growth and knowledge? Would training them be cost prohibitive? 
  • Conversely, would it be more cost effective to recruit a candidate who brings the types of skills you need to fill the gap? Could doing so also help you fill an immediate organizational need, regardless of succession?  

3. The process can help improve employee morale and engagement.

When you show employees that they’re a part of your future, it can be a boon to your retention goals.

  • You’re effectively saying that you’re investing in them and in the organization.
  • You’re also validating other areas of the employee experience, including career mapping.
  • Succession planning also tells employees that your company culture matters. You understand that one way to achieve success as an organization, and to prepare for smooth transitions, is to pave the way for current employees to take on new responsibilities. 

Ideally, no employee is indispensable in your workplace. However, it’s easy for certain organizational knowledge or competencies to fall into silos over time. Succession planning can help you break down walls, create new levels of collaboration, and prepare for sudden or unanticipated changes among your employee population.


How prepared are you for changes to your employee population? As your dedicated applicant tracking software, myStaffingPro supports the way you recruit, hire, onboard, and engage your workers. Contact a representative today.

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