In the ere.net hosted webinar “Succession Planning: Why It’s Important as the Economy Recovers,” hosts Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest discuss the importance of implementing a strong succession planning process in your organization during the economic recovery. Kubica and LaForest identify that while the economy is recovering, we are seeing an increase in new job opportunities and talented and skilled employees are leaving their current organizations for a multitude of reasons: growth opportunity, better compensation packages, title and/or responsibility increases, etc.
The factor in successfully implementing succession planning that I deemed as most important from the webinar was timing- succession planning should not be done at the last minute; it is not a means to an enable an organization to survive after the exit of it’s top talent, key executives and leaders. Succession planning should instead be an organizational improvement initiative that enhances business growth. Kubica and LaForest have defined succession planning as “the process of identifying, developing and transitioning potential successors for the companies’ present and future key roles, aligned with the talent and ambition of it’s current employees and talent network.” Succession planning should NOT be a response to a number of employees resigning i.e. employee replacement planning.
I think that Kubica and LaForest’s webinar was generally effective. They provided their listeners with some key challenges that organizations face when first instituting succession planning:
- Not having current and relative job descriptions to establish expectations and role accountabilities
- Low or no talent pipeline
- No process or structure in place for identifying and developing high potential employees
While I found their suggestions relative to large organizations, I think it is hard to get the buy-in of succession planning in smaller organizations where the senior management team may not see the long-term importance of succession planning. Many times, organizations have specific pain points when it comes to employee movement. There is commonly a knee jerk reaction to quickly replacing the exiting employee(s) with the next available body. Small organizations may also see a challenge of employee retention piggy-backed by a disruption to the work environment and company culture.
I think that both Kubica and LaForest had well-thought out opinions in regards to helping their listeners understand the importance of succession planning and how to successfully implement the process inside an organization. They provide common pain points of succession planning, share market trends in succession planning and employee movements as well as some overall short and long-term benefits. A well-thought out succession planning process could potentially increase and promote employee retention, reduce employee uncertainty about the future of the organization, position the organization for smoother internal transitions and reduce the cost of operations.
I believe the quality of adaptability of this succession planning webinar is debatable. In my opinion, succession planning only works in organizations where the executive and C-Suite members believe in the importance of human capital, employee retention and human resources. This can be quite challenging in smaller organizations whose focus isn’t employee retention or valuation of employees, but rather is predominantly focused on meeting their bottom line and increasing net revenue at any cost. I think that succession planning is best used in organizations where human capital is considered a long-term investment and the company culture acknowledges the importance of employee development, growth and appreciation. I personally have not seen succession planning used inappropriately in any organization-rather, I see that strong succession planning leads to highly engaged employees which ultimately increased the organization’s success.
What are you doing within your organization in regards to succession planning?