You’ve seen it and you’ve read about it: succession planning is needed to ensure the future of your business. We’d even venture to say that succession planning is a make or break item in your business arsenal.
If you are still not convinced, ask yourself this: what would happen when an employee that you really depend on does not show up for work one morning. It could be the one and only employee who can bake your bakery’s brownies just right, or the one team member on whom you absolutely rely to keep your inventory in perfect order. Where will that leave you?
Many a business suffer significantly when key employees leave. It can cause a mad scramble as you try and find out what must be done, and how. Business productivity may drop, resulting in revenue loss. At worst, it may result in contract cancellations, financial losses or even business closure. Whichever way you look at it, It is not a good situation to be in.
How do you make sure that you survive the loss of a key employee? You plan. Simple as that.
It is actually a simple logical process. It’s a case of sitting down to think it through. You have a list of employees. You have a good idea what each of them is doing (hopefully). Write it down. Next to each employee’s name simply list what their normal duties are, and you’ll have a good start.
Next, think about the qualities each of your employees has – attributes like “attention to detail” or “cool head with difficult customers”. Write that down next to your employee’s name as well.
Now you need to get down to business and determine who can replace each one of these employees what you’ve listed, given their duties and attributes. Determine whether they can be replaced immediately, within 6 months or in a years’ time. Do you have candidates in your business? If not, it is a clear sign that you need to get your Succession Plan ready.
Succession planning is as much about getting clarity as it is about getting your candidates ready. The latter can be achieved by investing in training courses or place employees in specific positions to gain experience or allow them to shadow more experienced employees. It may also require you to recruit and employ more people to fill your succession gaps.
Succession Planning is certainly an investment in terms of effort and expenditure. Yet, consider the alternative.
The added benefit of Succession Planning is that your employees will have visible career paths. They’ll have something to aim for. The biggest gain though would be the fact that you will always have a back-up when someone is on leave or otherwise unavailable.
Given this perspective, succession planning isn’t just another business buzz word. It is actually key to survival in the business world.
If you could do with some guidance on this, keep an eye out for our upcoming Succession Planning Toolkit. It will include templates and step-by-step guides with which to build out your succession plan.