3 Succession Planning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Learn how to avoid making these costly succession planning mistakes.If one of your top leaders left your organization tomorrow, what would happen?

Perhaps you’d begin the arduous task of hiring an outside replacement. But, this process is long and you’re never absolutely sure that a candidate would be the right fit.

There is a better alternative: Hire your next leader from within your company. There are numerous benefits to promoting a current employee:

  • They already have a working knowledge of company culture and processes.
  • Hiring from within saves costs on training and time on onboarding.
  • Outside hires typically require higher salaries.

Succession planning prepares future leaders and saves your company time and money when a transition arises. Unfortunately, there are three mistakes that companies usually make in this area, and they’re easy to avoid. 

1. You’re Not Planning

It all starts with preparation. You need a plan for the future – one that’s developed around the most outstanding team members. Have you identified the assets you want to invest in?

Succession planning involves more than simply promoting people. It requires your organization's leaders to develop long-term plans for the professional development of top employees. Work with your leaders to create a succession planning pathway. This aids the training and promotion processes while incentivizing strong employees to stay with your company. 


Bonus resource: How to Develop a Succession Planning Process: A Guide for Managers


2. You’re Not Retaining

To promote the assets you believe in, you have to keep them around. Employee retention is a concern at every company, and it has a direct impact on succession planning. If you’re trying to move top employees up the ladder, consider these actions to boost employee retention:

  • Engage – Are your employees engaged and active in their positions? If not, they’re likely to start searching for a new job. Boredom is easy to spot. When you notice that someone seems disengaged, be sure to provide new responsibilities, management training or projects that utilize their strengths.
  • Communicate – Don’t keep succession planning a secret. Let your employees know that there is a path to promotion, and outline the traits a candidate should exemplify to be on it. Transparent succession planning cultivates trust in the workplace and incentivizes employee retention. When employees know that there are active opportunities to move up, they’re more likely to stay.
  • DelegateDelegation benefits both your leadership team and your top employees. It alleviates leaders’ responsibilities and gives workers the opportunity to experience firsthand management training by taking on those tasks. If employees feel like they’re receiving management-level assignments, you’re likely to see a rise in employee retention. 

3. You’re Not Training

In the end, it comes down to training. Whether it’s the firsthand training that comes with delegation or the management training you offer to the entire company, professional development enables future leaders to move to the top.

When you’re looking for training courses to fit into your succession planning, start with some essential skills

  • Coaching Job Skills
  • Communication
  • Delegation
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Effective Discipline
  • Change Management

Your team members may not need to use all of these tools now, but when they rise to management positions, they’ll already have done the professional development legwork.

Your current team members are the future of your organization. Invest time and resources into succession planning, and you’re going to reap the benefits.

Succession planning is your investment in the future. Learn more about retaining and training valuable employees by reading our free whitepaper.

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