Succession Planning: Fishing Leaders Out of Your Own Talent Pool.

By: Natalie Trudel

In a study conducted by the Corporate Leadership Council, it was found that 72% of companies predicted they would have an increasing number of leadership vacancies and 76% were “less than confident” in their abilities to adequately staff these positions. Sound familiar?

Ask yourself this – when a position becomes vacant do you find yourself scrambling to quickly and half-hazardly evaluate and dismiss potential internal talent or do you immediately look outside the organization to fill the gap? What if the perfect candidate was sitting right under your nose and would come fully equipped with a keen sense of organizational culture and a familiarity with the role? Wouldn’t it be ideal that when a position becomes vacant you have a talented roster of potential leaders ready to step in at a moment’s notice? This is where succession planning comes into play.

Succession Planning is the practice of monitoring and developing employee performance and potential with the ultimate goal of anticipating and effectively filling current and future leadership gaps. In essence, it is an active approach to talent management that ensures that the right talent will be available at the right time as the organization shifts and expands.

In his article, Building Your “Bench Strength”, Guido M.J. de Koning noted that there are three fundamental elements that make up the architecture of effective succession management:

First, make sure the organization understands and nurtures each employee’s unique talents and potential through individual career planning and development activities. Best-practice organizations don’t leave leadership development to chance; they actively drive a potential leader’s growth and development.

Second, aggregate and evaluate the organization’s talent pool to identify potential leadership gaps and suitable candidates.

Third, ensure that executives make the necessary succession and development decisions through group discussion and review sessions so that the talent requirements of the business are met.

The underlying theme of all these elements is successfully collecting, analyzing, and presenting employee performance data. This may seem simple enough but you likely know or would be surprised to learn that it requires a significant amount of time and effort to even attempt to successfully execute this process using traditional performance processes. Typical appraisal systems simply do not allow for the relevant and live data that is needed to maintain an accurate and updated pool of confirmed potential information.

It is a good thing that times are changing and that there are software suites now available help to automate this vital process. For instance, incorporated directly in CRG emPerform™ is the Succession Manager and the CRG Talent Matrix which allow HR and managers to draw from the performance history of employees through past performance reviews, 360 multi-rater reviews and surveys to readily identify the individuals that have the performance and potential to meet new challenges.

So the next time your organization inevitably shifts, will you be running to find ANY leader or will you be able to relax knowing that you already have the right leader ready to be fished right out of your well-stocked talent pool?