The importance of Succession Planning




According to a recent report, over 60% of business owners do not have a defined succession plan. In order to future proof your business, it is vital that you have to have a strategy in place to fill key positions, should one of your rising stars leave you.

There are many benefits to implementing an effective succession plan. The key goal is to prepare your business to be able to react quickly to changes and have minimal down time. Many organisations result in appointing interim leaders in this situation,this is often not a great strategy as they inevitably cause disruption and this can negatively impact staff productivity and business revenue. By putting in place a creative succession plan you can react quickly to changes and minimise any down time, without resulting to interim strategies.

So what makes up an effective succession plan?

Implementing a succession plan for many businesses can be a daunting process – however the results, and peace of mind, that result from the process, are well worth it!

Succession plans vary – however here at DUO we think that for maximum success you should include internal and external elements – both identifying potential candidates within your organisation through a progression plan, and looking at external talent that could bring key experience levels from a similar position at a competitor.

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Internal Strategies:

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, created Apple University which works as both a retention and staff development tool, and an internal succession strategy, to both develop staff skills and transfer ideas, whilst also identifying and grooming future leaders inside the business.

Some other ideas for an internal succession strategy:

1. Executive Assignments – By implementing a process for Executive Assignments you can give selected employees a chance to experience a more senior role for a short period of time. This allows individuals to experience the day-to-day activities of an executive and build their own leadership skills. Educating existing employees in critical roles is vital and this approach is a great opportunity for a business to uncover previously unknown skill sets.

2. Sabbatical Programmes – Companies can issue paid or unpaid leave to an executive. This will help to reduce employee turnover and help retain talent. Allowing your top talent to take a break from their busy working schedule to pursue a life long dream can be a determining factor to increasing satisfaction of your most experienced employees. You can then use Executive Assignments to cover their sabbatical!

3. Talent Bench Reviews – A simple method you can use is the idea of a talent bench review, this enables senior members of staff to assess who should be developed and groomed into a leadership role. It can also be helpful to see whether existing employees need to be moved into a different role within the organisation. By putting together a “board” of reviewers you are able to assess each employee from multiple viewpoints.

External Strategies:

According to a recent report, 650,000 employees move companies every quarter. Therefore, it is not just enough to use internal strategies to help create your succession plan. It is important to also assess external talent prospects to really find the best successors and future leaders for your business.

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1. Network and Build External Relationships – It is important to “court” potential talent targets. Don’t just have a recruiter reach out, build a long term relationship with your prospect and take time to engage them in the values of your business. You could even get them involved as a part time external consultant, or ad-hoc advisor, to try out their skill set and give them a flavour of your company, prior to engaging in a full time position.

2. Employee Brand Ambassadors – By developing internal brand ambassadors, you can work with them to engage with potential external talent. If you have a rising star internally, it is likely they will know other rising stars, and will be more effective in engaging them with opportunities within your business.

Creating a strong succession plan isn’t an easy process and can’t be done overnight. Companies need to make sure that all employees are engaged in the process in order for the transition to be effective. However, by implementing a strategic succession plan you can future-proof your company and ensure that any future leaders are identified ahead of time.

For more information on how you can build a robust succession plan, reach out to us on