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Human resources managers: who’s going to lead your company in years to come? Succession planning, simply put, is the process of coming up with an answer to that question. The problem is, determining which people at your company have what it takes to lead, then equipping them with the skills and resources to rise to the challenge of leadership, is anything but simple.

Crafting an effective succession plan requires human resources managers and other higher ups to think ahead, and ask intelligent questions. Here’s some helpful tips and guidance to assist you in preparing your company, and the people within it, for years of growth and success.

What kind of leaders will your company need?

First, HR managers need to examine the company—not only at exists in the here and now, but what it might look like months, years, even decades down the road. Here’s a few questions to ask while you’re looking, to help you get a clear picture:

  • Are you expecting to add staff?
  • Do your current leaders have any gaps in their skills and expertise?
  • What skills and expertise will you need future leaders to possess?
  • What type of leadership will be helpful in supporting your organization’s culture, and strategic plan?
  • Is your company growing and moving into areas where different skill sets might be useful?
  • Finally, which of your current leadership might be leaving in the near future (courtesy of retirement, project wrap-up, etc)?

What will your future leaders need to succeed?

Before you can ID the folks in your company who have the right stuff to lead your company years from now, you have to start with spelling out what experience, attributes, knowledge and other attributes you’ll be needing from them. Then, you can begin the process of picking out people with knowledge, leadership abilities and other traits that fit the bill. 

Who are the potential leaders among you?

Some people on your staff were practically built to rise through the ranks—others are less suited for jobs that require them to manage or lead others. It’s important to assess your employees’ potential, looking at both their performance and their potential. The former, if you’ve been documenting their successes and shortcomings, should be relatively short work. The latter is a little trickier—but it’s not impossible. You can suss out their leadership potential by talking to current and former supervisors, colleagues and other people close to them.

Have you created pathways to leadership?
Having staff who are gung ho to take on a more significant role at your company is all fine and dandy. You also have to have a path they can follow to help them grow and move into that bigger role. If they’re interested, they may require any number of resources:

  • Education
  • Internal or outside training
  • Professional certification
  • Mentoring or coaching
  • Smaller-scale leadership roles or projects

Once you’ve determined what they need to grow as leaders, it is important to evaluate their progress—you might determine they need additional resources, or they might decide along the way that managerial work isn’t a good fit for them.

 A sound retention strategy goes hand in hand with your succession plan. If you’ve worked to create an enjoyable workplace people want to stay at for a long time, they’ll be more invested in your company’s future. The process takes a great deal of time, but it’s worth the investment to secure your company’s future. Contact us for advice on how to craft a solid succession strategy that fits your organization.