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Posted by Joe Gay on June 1, 2019.

Succession planning is often misunderstood or undervalued in the workplace. According to Talent Management magazine, about 70 percent of companies say they participate in some form of succession planning. However, 62 percent also report having too few candidates for organizational needs, and a third of organizations report no succession plan at all. These numbers are low relative to just how important succession planning is to an organization’s success.

Whether you’re a large corporation or small business, the economy is constantly changing and unpredictable. You never know when employees may leave or retire, leaving you with vacant job positions that are critical to your organization’s function. So, you need to be prepared! An effective succession plan benefits the organization and its employees in many ways, such as: identifying the current and future needs of the organization, identifying top performers and leaders, and assisting in employee development.

An article from Harvard Business Review suggests “changing the name from succession planning to succession development.” Effective succession planning helps organizations develop their internal talent in areas that will prepare them to succeed in higher-level and leadership positions. A great leader needs to be able to work effectively with people, and make successful transitions to higher levels of responsibility and accountability. Succession planning will identify the people who are capable of leadership, and identify the areas of development required to become successful.

The heart of succession planning is the evaluation of employees’ performance and potential. In doing this, you must ask these two questions:

  1. How is the employee being perceived? When evaluating and assessing employees, it’s important to know how they interact with others. Do they demonstrate leadership skills and confidence in the workplace? To gain this valuable information, it’s important to look at employees through the eyes of the coworkers and leaders with whom they interact on a day-to-day basis. That’s where surveys like the CheckPoint 360°™ can help. Three-sixty feedback tools evaluate a person’s leadership performance and potential with direct feedback from peers, supervisors, direct reports, and even customers or vendors.
  2. What are the employee’s unique characteristics? When looking at an employee’s performance and potential, you need to take into account what job positions and responsibilities will best fit them. To determine this, you need to know your employees’ behaviors, motivations, interests, and values. What makes them tick? Are they capable of working under more pressure? Will they be engaged by a role at a different level? How quickly can they assimilate into a new position. To gather this data objectively, you can use a total-person assessment. For example, the ProfileXT® measures over 20 characteristics, including behavioral tendencies, thinking and reasoning skills, aptitude, and interests. The assessment results indicate how strongly an employee matches different job positions, and identifies areas he or she needs to develop to become successful.

Author: Joe Gay

Joe Gay Joe Gay is the owwner at Management Support Solutions LLC, and provides human resources expertise for organizations in management and employee development.

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