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The Process of Succession Planning

written by: Vikas Vij•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

Learn how to cultivate a talent pool that ensures you'll always have a number of highly capable candidates to fill up leadership positions whenever the need arises. Succession planning is crucial to the long-term stability of any organization.

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    Succession Planning Process The importance of succession planning and management is growing as an increasing number of business leaders realize its role in furthering organizational stability. CEOs and human resource managers must understand that the process of succession planning needs to be more holistic in its approach in order to integrate with the corporate strategy of the organization. The new evolving succession planning and management systems view the process of succession not just as a talent replacement process but as a systemic process of developing human capital within the organization.

    Linking Succession Planning with Corporate Strategy

    The new approach to the process of succession planning is to create a linkage between the company’s core business strategy and succession plans. This ensures that there is no variance between the company’s mission and objectives and its vision for succession. The process is made more comprehensive by involving both the human resource department and the business units that need a future successor. By paying attention to the views and expectations of the business unit members, the HR department ensures that the new successor is chosen appropriately and fits in with the needs and aspirations of the unit.

    Use of Technology to Facilitate the Process

    The process of succession planning in modern management makes an effective use of technology to acquire and integrate data. This helps to speed up the process of evaluating potential candidates on several parameters and enhances the accuracy of decisions. There are advanced software packages to help in the succession planning and management process, as well as web-based systems to provide global access to data for the multinational business organization of today. Technology helps to simplify the entire planning process and many HR managers are using technology very effectively to assist in this process.

    Creating a Dynamic Internal Talent Pool

    The process of succession planning is not a static process that only focuses on finding replacements when the need arises. It is a dynamic and continuous process that aims at building and nurturing a rich pool of talent within the organization. It involves continuous identification of the best and most capable individuals who exhibit excellent leadership qualities that are necessary for superior positions. An effective system of tracking the performance records of individuals, and confidential feedback from their respective seniors, helps to identify the talent pool within the organization. At the same time, the HR department must constantly be on the lookout for external talent that may fit perfectly into the culture and ethos of the organization and take over as able successors.

    Developing and Mentoring Future Leaders

    The succession planning process involves grooming and development of the identified talent for the future positions of leadership within the organization. In addition, the standard executive coaching and training programs are offered to the most promising candidates for succession must be entrusted with strategic tasks that test their abilities and leadership qualities in real life. The top management of the company must engage with such candidates more closely and gradually involve them in decision making processes or hand over more responsibilities to them step by step. The candidates who display maximum capabilities and high consistency in handling challenging assignments, successfully become the prime choices for succession within the company.

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