Facebook Pixel

Favorite offers

What do we do if a key employee resigns, falls ill or has to be fired immediately? Will we be prepared for this?

During the daily deluge of duties associated with Human Resources tasks, pondering who might be the successor for, say, the Director of Administration, or what we would do if that Director left – is not high on our list of priorities. So, what can we do to ensure we aren’t caught off guard by such situations, and that irreplaceable staff have successors? The answer is simple: a succession plan.

Succession planning

Effective succession planning reinforces stability and balance within an organization by ensuring we have a robust process in place to meet staffing needs. This involves sound management and planning of HR processes. It’s the realization that our team won’t remain in its current composition indefinitely, and thus preparing for the changes that will occur when seemingly irreplaceable employees leave. While most succession plans focus on top-level managers, it's tactically prudent to include all key roles in the plan. Key roles are those positions essential for the organization’s operations due to specific skills, tenure, experience, knowledge, or other facets that are hard to replace.

By identifying the potential in our employees, we can plan strategies for any dangerous gaps that might emerge in our human resources. Keeping in mind the company's goals and strategic plans, HR staff should recognize the organization's needs and anticipate future human resource requirements. Then, comparing these needs with our current resources, we're poised to manage an employee succession plan that eliminates potential gaps that might significantly widen upon the departure of a key employee. Therefore, the plan should combine training and development of current employees with external recruitment.

Why is succession planning so important? 

Benefits of a solid succession plan:

  • Providing assurance to the organization and its employees that we're prepared to support the business’s continuity when key employees depart. Thanks to a mapped-out strategy, certain company structures won't become paralyzed.
  • Continually supplying motivated and qualified employees ready to undertake key functions.
  • Alignment between the organization's vision and human resources, demonstrating an understanding of the need to have the right team to achieve set organizational goals.
  • Engaging employees in their individual career path development, enabling the organization to have the most effective workforce.
  • The company's reputation as a good employer that invests in its employees' development.
  • Relaying to employees the message: “you are important to us”, fostering loyalty and motivation.

Risk of lack of succession

A lack of a succession plan can not only undermine an organization's efficiency but also threaten its long-term vision and mission. Organizations failing to invest in succession strategies risk losing key talents, potentially leading to significant downtimes, operational inconsistencies, and challenges in achieving strategic goals. Without an adequate succession plan, there's a significant risk of being unable to replace key employees timely. This might mean that programs, initiatives, and services, which are integral to the company's success, become suspended or disorganized. Without succession planning, the organization might lack the necessary means and resources to ensure these actions continue after the departure of key employees.

It's not only an internal challenge for the company but also a matter of image. External stakeholders, such as clients, shareholders, and suppliers, might see the absence of a succession plan as a sign of instability. They might question if the company is well-prepared to face future challenges and if it can consistently provide excellent services irrespective of the labor market dynamics. Especially during times of rapid market changes, like recruitment, technology advancements, or global challenges, a company's ability to flexibly adapt to new circumstances is key to its success. The lack of a succession plan can hinder this success.

The beginning of the year is an excellent time to review our company's succession plan. Is our current plan still relevant? As the company evolves and our clients' needs change, so does our organization. Are we genuinely prepared for the departure of any of our key employees?

I am enclosing the profile of one of the experts experienced in creating efficient succession plans.

Alicja Szałkowska

Associate Consultant

Tel: +48 22 48 35 000

Fax: +48 22 48 35 001

E-mail: aszalkowska@antal.com

Antal International Ltd.

Stratos Office Centre

Ks. Skorupki 5

00-546 Warsaw

Web: www.antal.pl

I specialize in recruiting senior and mid-level staff for Human Resources and Administration departments. I have extensive experience in managing recruitment projects for positions such as HR Specialist, Payroll Specialist, HR Business Partner, Executive Assistant, and Office Manager, among others.

Questions? Ask the author: