Get Smart about Succession Planning: The Value of Developing and Retaining Top Talent

In a world where global competition is fierce and high-quality employees are hard to come by, the idea of grooming and retaining talent should always be kept top of mind.

As we’ve all seen firsthand with the recent economic recession, the environment we live in is volatile. And unless you have a crystal ball or psychic powers, you can never really predict what’s going to happen when it comes to your business or your employees. Like the environment we live in, people are also unpredictable. They can get scooped up by the competition, fall ill or jump ship at any time.

So ask yourself this: What would you do if a key employee resigned tomorrow? Are you prepared?

Several recent studies show that the aftershock of the recession has left employees feeling uneasy about their jobs and futures with current employers. To counter this, organizations should be doing everything they can to retain and develop their existing talent. After all, having to re-hire, train and develop a new employee is easier said than done. It requires time, money and energy, making good talent something you just can’t afford to lose.

There are succession planning tools that you can integrate into your performance management process to help keep you on your toes when it comes to any unexpected, internal turbulence, as well as prepare you for the long-haul.

When implementing a succession planning tool, consider the following:

Performance Reviews. You should be able to easily tie-in your annual appraisals to your succession plan so that HR and managers can draw from performance history of employees through past reviews.

Best practices. Consider a tool that incorporates the Nine-Box Talent Matrix. This is an industry best practice that will give you visibility into your internal talent and allow you to identify top individuals in your organization that have the potential to meet new challenges.

Development Plans. According to Linkage, one of the most common mistakes when it comes to succession planning is that companies fail or neglect to execute individual development plans for their employees. Make sure you are using a tool that allows you to link in development and training so you can cultivate your talent.

Gen X and Y. In a recent article, author Cheryl Cran of “101 Ways to Make Generations X, Y & Zoomers Happy at Work” discusses the idea of “generational succession planning.” When thinking about succession planning it’s important to take into account the wants and needs of the ‘up-and-comers’, also known as the future of today’s organizations. As Cran puts it, “To foster effective transitions, companies need to create an environment attractive to Gen X, Y and Zoomer generations.”

In short, companies need to “get smart” about retaining and developing their talent. In today’s day and age, you can’t afford to not incorporate some sort of succession planning tool into your business plan.

Warning: Failing to do so can be harmful to both the short and long-term health of your organization!