Succession planning: Why is it so important?

Written on May 17, 2021 by Jonathon Webley

Succession planning is key if you want to be able to secure the people you need to ensure the successful future of your business.

Here at Agile Recruit, we firmly believe that your employees are your greatest asset, and succession planning is therefore critical when you are looking towards the future and figuring out who will be part of it.

When you are thinking about succession planning, the easiest way to think about it is to consider the following questions: ‘if any of your leadership team departed, do you have the right people with the right skills already in the business, ready to step up and replace them?’

Identifying succession gaps

When you start thinking about succession planning, you need to think about which of your employees are coming up through the ranks internally already. Are they ready for their next role now? Or do they need more training and development to get them where they need to be?

More often than not, there is a large gap between the current (and those in the coming few years) executive-level job requirements, and the next generation of leaders being lined up to take on these roles. There may also be a lack of diversity within this group which may lead you to consider external succession planning as a way of tackling inclusion. When we talk about diversity here, it is not just about typically underrepresented groups of employees, but also a lack of diversity within industry skills and experience as well.

What are the next steps?

Once you have identified your succession gaps internally, you may feel that you don’t want to do an executive search just yet as it can be a costly way of engaging with professionals whose circumstances may change, and you don’t have an immediate vacancy to offer them.

This is where talent pipelining comes in. Talent pipelining is about identifying who the potential successor for an employee might be. You want to look at things like:

  • Whether you might achieve greater diversity in skills and experience if you recruit from within another sector
  • Who do your competitors have already working for them as natural successors?
  • Where else can you find potential candidates beyond your usual networks and competitors?

The team at Agile Recruit are perfectly placed to identify who your potential successors might be, giving you time to explore how your compensation and benefits package compares and see if there is an opportunity for you to improve on it.

What do executive candidates find attractive?

When you are looking at a compensation and benefits package for executive-level jobs, it is about so much more than the salary and bonus potential. If they are moving between countries, they will want to know how taxation could affect their earnings, for example. They will also want to know all about company culture and how long-term incentive schemes are structured.

A successful succession planning process

There are a number of vital steps that need to be undertaken to ensure your succession planning process is going to be successful, and these include:

  • Assessing the gap. There could be a gap in softer leadership skills or technical knowledge or even a more critical strategy gap if your company has recently undergone a significant digital transformation.
  • Understanding the path of succession. Succession planning is not just about finding the next person to fill a role, it is also about what the path to succession will look like to help ease the transition.
  • Reviewing the landscape. Agile Recruit is able to identify the total talent landscape for you, factoring in both changing business requirements and diversity needs so that we can agree on an engagement strategy that will prioritise the best candidates for your requirements.

Succession planning is not just about ensuring you have the right people in place to take over key roles if necessary and increasing diversity, but also about making sure your business is ready to thrive in unexpected circumstances.

Agile Recruit is able to help business leaders to integrate succession planning seamlessly into their overall business strategy, so get in touch to see how we can help you to plan for the future, today.