Grooming for greater things – emplacing your best talent for succession

Success Stories

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What is success without a successor?

We’ve all heard horror stories of how a company was left in the lurch when its leader abruptly departed. It could have been due to an unfortunate accident, or a sudden illness or diagnosis that forced the key appointment holder to retire. He/she could have been poached by another company or be compelled to resign by a scandal.

Whether it’s an SME or MNC, it could happen to any company with devastating consequences. One does not have to look far or hard to find examples. In June this year, former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned suddenly five years into the job. Such an abrupt departure would definitely have caused much upheaval for the company and disrupted the continuity of the company’s long term strategy and vision.

An unexpected replacement of top leadership talent involves more than just finding someone of similar caliber to run the company in terms of day-to-day operations. That is usually only a stop-gap to keep the company functioning.

The search for a long-term successor is usually a lengthy process to select a candidate that not only has the competency for the daily rigours of the job but shares the company’s vision and whose personal values are aligned to those of the organisation.

succession planning Treat succession planning not as an afterthought, but as a continuous aspect of building your talent for future leadership roles.

The best time for such talent search is when the incumbent is still on the job and not after the position has been unexpectedly vacated. And this succession plan should not only be confined to the top leadership but also extended beyond the C-suite to other key appointments in the company.

How can a company draw up a viable talent development and succession plan that can be put into action at a moment’s notice? Here are three areas of focus to put in place.

1. Constantly assess employees’ potential objectively in order to identify, develop and retain the right talent needed

Maintain comprehensive employee talent profiles across the company so as to uncover hidden talent within the company. Employee competency and skill levels should be identified with the top and bottom performers flagged out through objective assessment of each employee’s performance and potential.

This can be used to produce a succession chart for the company to give quick visibility of the talent gaps, including important indicators such as the probability of attrition and the impact of loss.

2. Drive better business outcomes by enabling strategic succession management

Having assessed the risk and impact of key talent attrition, nominate internal and external candidates to those key positions within the company. Conduct “what-if” scenario gaming to appreciate the domino effects of the proposed succession plan should it be kicked into action.

At the same time, close talent gaps by activating development plans and learning activities to lead the career paths of nominated successors toward their designated roles. Progressive human capital managers actively measure the effectiveness of their succession plans to assess the impact these have on the company’s business outcomes.

3. Offer meaningful development plans and career opportunities to engage and motivate employees

Encourage employees to proactively explore their career paths, assess their readiness for greater responsibilities, and address gaps through targeted development plans in preparation for future roles.

Look out for positions that match employees’ skills and aspirations and engage employees in frequent dialogue regarding their development activities. Implement mentoring programs by matching mentors to mentees to provide guidance to accelerate development and foster growth of employees.

Ensuring Business Success Through Succession Management

Succession management is imperative for businesses and organisations in today’s competitive global market. Companies that proactively cultivate their talent pool to successfully engage and retain their employees create a clear business advantage.

In order to put in place the right leaders and key appointment holders to drive the future and strategy of the organisation, leverage technology by enlisting the help of human capital management software that takes care of the talent documentation, monitoring, matching and analytics tasks that can be tedious and time-consuming.

Close talent gaps by activating development plans and learning activities to lead the career paths of nominated successors toward their designated roles.

Such software can help uncover workforce insights and provide talent visibility for HR, managers, and executives. Solutions such as the Succession & Development module in SAP SuccessFactors can display the talent depth across your organisation with an interactive Succession Org Chart; and provide side-by-side comparisons of configurable talent cards to search for the best succession candidates.

Having a comprehensive talent development and succession management system in your company can help your organisation minimise risk by developing the talent you need to achieve today’s business goals whilst providing the visibility and planning capabilities necessary to support future growth.

Bolster your organisational leadership today. Enhance succession planning with SAP SuccessFactors.

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