Slayton Search Partners Explains Key Factors in Effective Succession Planning

No matter what your industry, product or service, the foundation of every company is built on its people. From the C-suite to the frontline team, your people are your number one asset. But as essential as that frontline team is, there’s no denying that a company’s leaders are the least replaceable. They’re the ones with the right mix of skill, experience, vision, and drive to take the helm. And yet, immortality does not rank on the list of characteristics that makes them a leader. The simple truth is that leaders move on; they retire, they resign, they pass on. Unfortunately, too few companies take this truth to heart and many fail to engage in effective succession planning.

The Necessity of Succession Planning

For publicly-held companies, succession planning is a given (although, that’s not a guarantee that it’s done well). But step into the private realm, and it’s frequently overlooked. A report from the Society for Human Resource Management cites some eye-opening statistics, including the fact that at least 40% of surveyed organizations don’t have a succession plan, and only 5% have confidence in their current succession planning processes.

Many companies turn to succession planning when it’s too late – such as when a leader unexpectedly resigns or is taken ill. This strategy resembles crisis management more than it does succession planning, so there should be little surprise if the resolution of such circumstances fails to succeed.

Truly effective succession planning is a vital business continuity process that ensures a company’s productivity, growth and competitive edge independent of any changes in leadership. Thus, a serious and proactive approach is key.

The Foundation of Effective Succession Planning

Essentially, a succession plan is a formal, written plan that aligns with the long-term strategy of an organization. It requires a genuine understanding of the complexities and nuances of the organization’s processes and procedures, and deftly integrates with other strategies such as talent acquisition, employee engagement, and professional development.

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