The importance of succession management was realized by most organizations when Herbert D. Kelleher, the CEO of the most profitable and admired low-fare airlines called Southwest Airlines, was asked a question about company’s succession planning in an interview conducted by BUSINESS WEEK.
The CEO himself did not take the question seriously and the all the directors also refused to talk about the succession planning details of the company. The incident exposed the strategic thinking weakness of the company. The company had no succession plans for the future of the company. In fact this incident forced the corporate world to realize this business weakness.
Succession planning is a most talked about activity but very few organizations do it well. Succession management should be a part of strategic planning for all the big and small businesses because it suggests the future and the vision of a company.
Succession management best practices
A successful succession management program requires collaboration between the CEO and the succession management team of a company to ensure growth without major discontinuities. A succession management team may include top executives of a company, HR, and a succession management specialist.
Some of the succession management best practices that can be followed by companies are:
- Integration with overall business strategy: Succession planning should be completely integrated with the overall business strategy of a company so that organization’s long term goals and objectives can be linked with the leadership development of the company.
- Without succession planning you cannot ensure leadership development. Also, you cannot make sure that qualified people will continue to take charge of the company’s most important positions, in case people on a key positions have retired or moved on.
- Planning for all key positions: Succession planning does not only mean planning a succession path for CEO. A careful strategic planning for the eventual replacement of people on all key positions should be considered.
- The real challenge in succession management is creating a match between organization’s future needs and employees’ aspirations through leadership development, tracking progress, and creating development opportunities.
- Identifying and grooming high potential: Succession management is a continuous process that involves identifying and grooming high potential and high performing employees (HIPOs) so that they can be retained in the company. The HIPOs are the ones who want to move up in your company and demonstrate leadership traits in their personality.
- Focusing on Individual development plans: As a best practice, the succession management system of an organization should focus on the individual development plans of employees. In addition, the development process of employees should be kept simple so that the development objectives are not too hard to achieve for employees.
- Using nine-box matrix : The performance potential graphs or 9-grid box can allow you to quickly gather data from your organization and identify employees on the basis of the ratings and comments given to the employees by their managers on the basis of their performance, corporate values, and perceived potential.
Evaluate the Succession Management system of your organization
To evaluate the success of the succession planning system used in your organization, you can find out the number of job openings that were filled from within the organization.
A good succession planning software allows you to monitor talent pool in your organization and match it with the future requirements of the company. An integrated system that includes performance management, training and succession planning systems can allow you to find out the performance of succession planning candidates and focus on their development needs through training and coaching.
A cloud based online succession management system allows the access of talent pool worldwide and a large scale integration of data. A good succession planning software can make the succession management process shorter, simple, and flexible.