How to Get Started with Succession Planning
As employers prepare for the many baby boomers heading towards retirement, succession planning is essential to avoid large knowledge gaps and business disruptions. To get you started, we’re sharing three strategies to start retirement-proofing your organization.
As baby boomers create their retirement plans, employers are faced with overcoming the challenges of the knowledge and skills gaps that will be felt within their organizations once this occurs. To address these challenges and facilitate organizational knowledge transfer and continuity, it’s vital to identify and develop your organization’s future leaders. Help ensure that your company stays ahead of the (retirement) game with the following strategies.
1. Be proactive
Early detection is key. In order to plan and identify skills gaps, you need to initiate conversations with employees approaching retirement age. Build the conversation into an annual review and set reminders to follow up with colleagues who weren’t certain about their retirement plans.
2. Identify your successor
The size of your organization should be a consideration when determining succession strategies. Larger businesses can opt to promote from within their existing talent pools, but small to medium sized businesses may have a smaller pool to pull from, and can be left with larger gaps as a result of employee retirements.
Promote from within
More than simply selecting and promoting a candidate based on seniority, it’s important to learn about a candidate’s ambitions, goals and future plans. This will ensure that you are selecting a professional who is motivated to stay and develop within the organization. Employing personality and career assessment tools within your talent management process can help uncover those essential soft skills and personality traits that are challenging to identify but important to finding standout employees.
Look outside your organization
Based on the size or experience of your existing talent pool, promoting from within may not be a viable option. Your staff may not be ready for a corporate role, or you may not have been provided with enough notice to develop your future potential leaders. In selecting an external candidate, look for applicants that come from a similar industry and corporate culture. Not only will it make the transition easy for the new employee, but it will also minimize the disruption to existing colleagues.
3. Develop potential leaders
Once you’ve identified the candidate, it’s time to begin grooming them for their future roles. For employees who are new to your organization, make sure to allow a healthy training period with the retiring colleague to ensure a smooth transition for the organization as a whole.
Take inventory of skills
Begin by creating detailed job descriptions and skills lists for all existing employees approaching retirement. Consider the colleague’s full range of hard and soft skills or personality traits that have helped the colleague become so successful in their role. Try to gauge the skills your organization will require down the road based on the company’s development trends. This will help you gain a realistic understanding of the training required to get your successor up to speed.
Invest in career development tools
Developing your candidates is an investment and so, as an organization, you should be prepared to invest in career development tools such as training and online courses to help your candidate reach their full potential. Compare their current skills status to the inventory of skills created for the retiring individual to help build a training plan.
Create a mentorship program
Although skills can be gained through extra education or additional training, job knowledge can be trickier to transfer. Creating a mentorship program provides a direct opportunity for knowledge sharing amongst the retiree and their successor. Not only is mentorship critical for knowledge transfer, it enables the promoted mentee to receive feedback on career and interpersonal skills, ultimately increasing their self-confidence and placing them on track for success in their new role.
Without succession planning and a knowledge transfer strategy in place, your business faces the risk of losing critical organizational knowledge, potentially causing disruption to your day-to-day business operations and your company’s overall success. For more tips on succession planning, or for help in finding your team’s next successor, contact your local Adecco branch today!