Succession Planning: It's Easier Than You Think!

You can do it!

Congratulations you’re rich! That’s what I like to tell HR directors who worry they don’t have what they need for strong succession planning. The fact is today’s HR departments are sitting on a goldmine of succession planning data.

Amassed from established employee management programs and technologies, this talent data is the reason succession planning is so much easier than you think it is. How easy? Dive into the Succession Planning Checklist below, and you will be happy (guaranteed) to see that you have the foundation for strong succession planning already in place. Once you know what you have, it’s just a matter of learning how to leverage it to identify and cultivate leadership.

What Do You Need? A Checklist.

Succession planning is pragmatic: to succeed in the future you need talented people to plan, build and be that future. Following the golden rules of pragmatism (make a list!), Use this handy checklist to determine what you know and don’t know about your current and future pool of leaders.

Recruiting and Hiring Data.

Your talent engagement, tracking and management tools, from ATS to CRM technologies, provide valuable data on the skills you have and those you need:

Job Requisitions

  • What skills are needed in house?
  • What experience is needed in house?

Recruiting Data

  • Where are your critical and non-critical talent gaps?
  • What roles see the most turnover?
  • Which roles are hardest to recruit?

Candidate and Employee Resumes and Records

  • What skills and experience do you have in house?
  • What accomplishments do you have in house (certifications, test scores, degrees, awards, etc.)
  • Where (what industries, schools, locations) do top candidates come from?

Performance Measures.

You may not have one comprehensive program for tracking and analyzing performance, but you likely are gathering substantial performance data. Which of the following do you have in place?

Satisfaction Surveys

  • Client satisfaction
  • Partner satisfaction

Competency Assessments

  • Employee mapping to core and job based competencies
  • Performance mapping to Core Values

Performance Reviews

  • Manager reviews
  • Team reviews
  • Employee (self) reviews

Productivity Measures

  • Output results/measures
  • Quality testing and measures

Profitability Measures

  • Revenue and margin measures (per team/per employee etc.)

Developmental Assessments.

Most businesses leverage assessments to identify various attributes and traits among workers. Sometimes these assessments are part of broader systems and tools, such as SAP SuccessFactors or Halogen. Other times, they are done as one-off assessments or as part of a training program. Is your business using any of the following to better understand and train your workforce?

  • Personality Assessments
  • Aptitude Tests
  • 360° Assessments
  • Business Acumen Reviews
  • Mentoring Programs
  • Skill and/or Leadership Training

After a quick look through the checklist above, any succession planning doubts should shrink considerably. This data, from resumes all the way to reviews, is essential for identifying and tracking skills, traits, backgrounds and experience and much of it you already have. The next step, also easier than most think, is tying it together to identify the three key components of succession plans: Key Roles, SPoFs and an Acceleration Pool.