The next leader of your company may be sitting outside your door. He or she might be the entry-level team member you just hired. These are assets you haven’t tapped into yet, but it’s time to start.
According to the 2014 Report On Senior Executive Succession Planning And Talent Development, companies take about 90 days to replace a senior executive. That’s a long time to halt productivity. The lengthened search is often attributed to the following challenges:
- Outside hires at the executive level are not always a guaranteed match for companies.
- Outside hires cost more money, and compensation issues typically arise.
- Internal candidates are not adequately prepared to take over.
These issues aren’t exclusive to finding top leaders, though. Hiring any level of manager brings these problems, too.
There are four steps to developing an employee. When followed, they help boost employee retention and slow the lag time that comes with replacing leaders. Succession planning isn’t just an investment in future leaders; it’s an investment in the future stability of your company.
Step 1: Identify Your Future Assets
You know the employees who stand out. They go above and beyond to get their job done. These team members are the future of your company, and with the right development, they have the potential to be outstanding managers.
A helpful way to identify future assets for succession planning is by looking for the characteristics your managers need to perform their jobs successfully. Focus on essential leadership skills, like organization, communication and flexibility. If your employees already possess these raw qualities before you invest in management training, they’re steps ahead of many rookie managers.
Step 2: Develop A Path For Promotion
Once you’ve identified your future leaders, you need to start planning. Create a path for upcoming leaders to follow. What are some of the abilities your team members need to polish before they climb the corporate ladder?
Develop a skills checklist to give your future leaders concrete goals to work toward. To be qualified to move to the next level, what milestones should your team members achieve? For example, if your managers regularly use a specific software at your company, include software proficiency in your succession planning checklist.
When assets know that there is a plan for their future, they’re more likely to stick with your company, making it easier to retain the employees you value.
Step 3: Provide Management Training Tools
You’ve identified the future leaders of your company and set goals to help them prepare to move up. Now, provide management training to get your team members ready to take the reins.
Choose courses that you know your managers will have to use in the future. Craft a professional development program based on the needs of potential managers. Employees have the opportunity to better themselves and complete some of the legwork that adjusting to a promotion would require. Save time by training and preparing them for the future now.
Step 4: Coach Future Leaders To Succeed
You have all of the pieces to your succession planning puzzle. Now, put them together. Give your future leaders real-world experience and coach them through this professional development. Delegate management tasks so they’re able to try their hand at different workplace responsibilities and put their management training to work. Coach your potential assets through the challenges they face, and invest your efforts into making them well-rounded team members.
Succession planning is more than identifying talent within your company and retaining employees until there is an opportunity to promote. Through management training and a plan for professional development, start investing in your future leaders as soon as possible. Your company is going to be much more prepared for the future, and so are your top employees.
Succession planning is simple and worth the time investment. Learn more about developing and retaining valuable employees with our exclusive guide.