Succession Planning

Discover the succession planning process

Business succession planning is an important consideration for any company, but it's one that's often misunderstood or pushed aside for more urgent day-to-day company activities. Unlike those activities, succession planning is all about thinking ahead and planning a successful strategy that will carry a company through growth and transition.

To create a succession plan for your company, you first have to understand exactly what a succession plan is and what the requirements are for building one. From there, you can begin to work through the steps necessary to plan for your company's future and designate the people who will help lead the company into it.

What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a process used to evaluate external parties or internal employees for the purpose of filling a particular role within a company. These roles might be as small as a manager but could also be as major as the owner of the business.

One reason to create a succession plan is if you're a business owner who is heading for retirement. While you do have the option to simply cut your ties and sell your business, you may prefer to find a successor who will take your place in ownership. This person could be a family member, friend or business partner.

Another reason to create a succession plan is to help bolster the longevity of new companies. Succession planning can help executives groom staff members to fill advanced roles once the company begins to prosper and grow.

The Succession Planning Process

Succession planning requires a lot of time and research to ensure that personnel are properly evaluated and that their elevation into the role occurs smoothly. Some of the factors you'll need to consider include:

  • Identifying the roles you'll want to fill
  • Compiling a list of skills, experience and traits required to fill those roles
  • Assessing current employee strengths and weakness
  • Monitoring employee performance and development

You may also want to include leadership training as part of your succession plan. This will allow you to observe your particular candidates' willingness and natural abilities to take on a more advanced position.

If this sounds confusing, there are a number of succession planning tools that can be helpful for those who have never gone through the process. These tools might include surveys with recommended questions, software that can track employee performance metrics or a complete succession planning template that lays out all the steps for you.

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