Communicate with Potential Successors
First and foremost, you can’t just choose successors and never tell them that they are part of the plan. You need to communicate with them as early as possible, letting them know what you have in mind for their future.
When an employee isn’t aware that they are a successor, they could look elsewhere for advancement opportunities. By informing them, you are showing that you value their contributions today, believe they are valuable, and that you want to see them move forward. This boosts retention and ensures coverage is more likely to be available.
Have a Plan for Sharing the News
The exit of a key player often creates uncertainty for the remaining employees. They may wonder who will take over and what the future holds, or worry about upcoming changes.
Your succession strategy needs a plan for sharing details about the plan. If a successor has already been identified, disseminate that information quickly. Additionally, provide answers to common questions that are probably circulating in the minds of the affected team. That way, people can digest the news and understand what is to come.
Find a Balance Between Transparency and Confidentiality
The issue of succession can be contentious. Some employees may be tempted to laud their selection as a successor over others, creating an unfavorable situation. At times, certain team members may believe they are more deserving, and that resentment could hinder productivity and harm the team dynamic.
With succession planning, you have to find a balance between transparency and confidentiality. You need to determine who needs to know what and when. Further, you need clear rules regarding discussing the plan, ensuring the chosen successor, managers, and members of the C-suite are on the same page. That way, information isn’t spread if it shouldn’t be, reducing the likelihood of issues.
Implement a Fair Selection Process
While it may be tempting to simply identify a top performer as a successor without any additional due process, that isn’t always ideal. If other employees think that they weren’t given a chance to secure the role, they may feel resentful.
Instead of making a selection without additional screening, consider implementing an internal selection process. Announce the vacancy internally (either broadly to the whole company or to those who are potentially in line for the job) and allow those who wish to be considered to come forward. Have clear criteria for choosing the successor and formalize the process. Once a successor is identified, share why they were selected. That way, everything is transparent, creating a broader sense of trust.
Review Your Succession Plan Regularly
A succession plan needs to be a living one. Your workforce changes regularly, so you can’t rely on one plan forever. That way, as new employees arrive and current ones leave, you can adjust accordingly, ensuring your succession strategy is ready to implement as soon as the need arises.
Find Talented People with The Armada Group
If you would like to learn more about successful succession planning, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today and see how our succession strategy expertise can benefit you.