Succession planning for your business is not just important for the owner and CEO, but also for the executive and Director roles, and all business-critical roles, which would be difficult to replace from the labour market. Planning these successions will save your business a huge amount of lost time, resource and cost when these roles do need to be replaced and will therefore give your business more stability and, ultimately, will be more saleable as a result.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin
Tip 1: Identify and Nurture Future Faces
You should always be on the lookout for top talent and with succession planning in mind, those people who could step up under the right conditions and succeed. When you have identified these people there should be a logical progression path to the targeted position, with the right training and development in place to ensure they can step into the role and hit the ground running with zero impact to your business. It is important to ensure these people are praised widely during their progression so when they are in the role they have already gained the respect and support of other teams and stakeholders to be effective from day 1.
Tip 2: Ensure a Good Workforce Mix
You should ensure your teams have a mix of individuals between those that are ambitious and want to progress within a company and those that are happy with what they are doing and prefer the steady job rather than the top job. Without this balance you may find that all of a team wants to progress into the top role but as only one can, some will look elsewhere and leave your company. On the contrary you may find yourself with an effective team who are happy with what they are doing but with no desire to take on more responsibility or to step up to a senior position. It is therefore vital to find out each of your staffs values as not only will this help in managing them to get the most from them but also highlight whether you need to hire now to balance the mix of the team.
Tip 3: Plan Early and Fully
The earlier you consider and act on succession planning, the easier it will be to replace senior executives. Most senior roles would ideally need to be filled by the next most senior member of the team after at least three years in the role or team (depending on the size of your business). This timescale needs to be carefully considered to ensure the right person for the role is at the right point in the progression at the right time. If this person is being progressed from another key role, then the succession planning for their previous role also needs to be considered and so on until new employment can cover the role.
If your business has no succession planning in place then the time is now to put this plan into action to ensure your business continues to run smoothly when the time comes. The good thing is, succession planning can be planned in full once as long as the systemised process is documented and communicated to all. Each level of management will then embed this plan into their routine team management to ensure the business is primed for when key personnel leave.
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Turner Invest Directors Catherine & Stephen Turner