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March 9, 2018

Planning to Fail? The Painful Truth about Succession Planning

succession planning

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought into any of the following succession planning myths. 🙋

  • A high-performer in one role will be a high-performer in another role
  • High-performers should always be candidates for promotion to higher roles
  • New vacancies should be filled quickly using exactly the same process as before

It’s okay. You’re not the only one.

The truth is, there are some age-old patterns around succession planning that, despite all the talk of HR transformation, seem to be truly engraved in stone.

In the day-to-day grind of sourcing candidates and rushing to fill vacancies, it’s easy to forget that succession planning should truly be a people-driven process. But when you sit back and take a breath, it’s obvious that the majority of our fallback models for succession planning just don’t make sense anymore.

How can recruiters and recruiting managers change succession planning for the better?

One simple truth most managers and HR leaders tend to miss, is that high-performing candidates are often way ahead of them. While they’re sitting around thinking about how to fill their 9-box grid with qualified candidates for position X, every employee on the bench is actively thinking about their next move.

Think about it. How many times have you filled a role with a rockstar candidate who would have been more than worthy of a promotion at their previous company?

When looking to fill a gap or get your successor bench ready, you’ve got to start internally first. But for most managers, their face is just too close to the mirror to be able to see what’s really going on right in front of them.

This is where recruiters can make a world of difference. 🙌

Recruiters who truly have what’s best for the business at heart, can help managers and hiring authorities by bringing some much needed objectivity to the succession planning process and enable them to see their talent from a wider perspective.

Maybe your top sales development rep would feel completely suffocated by the admin of a director-level promotion. But with a lateral move or a few stretch responsibilities, she could share her knowledge with the rest of the team, and feel even more engaged at work.

A dynamic succession plan starts with a smart recruitment strategy

Instead of focusing succession on a few specific roles, what if you used every vacancy as an opportunity to reevaluate your plan through the eyes of the best talent at hand?

No one does this better than a rockstar recruiter. 😎

You’re in the unique position of being able to see the best of the business and the best of a candidate in a single glance. And if those two things are there, it might just be the job description that needs to change.

Research shows that managers plateau when they stay too long in a role. As humans, the ability to evolve freely is fundamentally our jam.

We owe it to ourselves, our companies and our candidates to rethink succession planning.

Instead of a select few roles at the top, what if there were a cluster of roles that could filled using a larger talent pool? What if your candidates could bring you fresh new insights about what they could bring to a role? What would that mean for your turnover rates?

How much more engaged would your employees be if they know that there were more ways to move than just “up”?