Successful succession planning depends on retaining high potential talent and developing those employees so they are prepared to fill key roles. Development efforts often are based on well-defined individual career paths, which keep employees engaged and motivated to excel. However, even companies who don’t have a full-scale career pathing process can bolster succession planning efforts by focusing on honing the talent and leadership skills needed for each vital position. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
Constructive feedback tied to specific goals helps employees clearly measure their performance and adapt to meet new challenges. Unfortunately, only 23% of employees feel they are getting the feedback they need to excel. Companies who focus on providing regular and meaningful feedback to employees, however, see 3.6 times the level of engagement, which translates into higher retention rates—a vital component of successful succession planning.
Lateral moves help high potential employees gain necessary skills for new roles by exposing them to varying tasks and responsibilities. Such moves also keep employees engaged by offering the opportunity to meet new challenges. Employees who make many lateral moves also obtain a big-picture view of the company as a whole—a perspective necessary for success in many top-level roles.
Leadership roles like team lead build the kind of leadership skills an employee may need to succeed in future management roles or executive positions. They also promote confidence, a trait that makes employees more likely to speak up about new ideas.
Special project assignments can build specific skill sets, as well as encourage self-direction and independent thought. They also can help fill identified skill gaps in an otherwise well-qualified candidate. Assignments like spearheading a new division or opening a branch in a new region may also serve as a trial run to see how a candidate might perform in a larger role.
Internal and external training opportunities do more than train employees to be better workers. They also encourage retention. Two out of three employees say training plays an important role in their decision to stay with their employer. To be effective, however, training must be engaging. Research indicates that customizable, interactive training that allows employees to go at their own pace and review material already learned may be the most beneficial.
By investing in the development of high potential employees in any of these five ways, companies ensure continual access to a talented and qualified pool of candidates for succession planning purposes. This enables a more robust planning process than creating a simple list of back-up candidates and ensures each person has the skills necessary to handle his or her new job when the time comes. For more information on succession planning, please contact us for an onsite demo.