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How a succession plan can help your business retain knowledge & grow leaders

Article was published by the international training and consultancy firm Ajilon Office (Ajilon Office, a division of leading workforce solutions provider Adecco), Achieve Global on the critical issue of succession planning. Article link is: cessionPlanning.pdf

The article mentions the importance of succession planning in todays competitive business environment. It further explains economic context to strengthen the case for strong succession planning in organizations. In this special report, Ajilon Office looks at three approaches to succession planning and provides practical advice on how to develop a successful plan within your organization.

Why has succession planning risen to the forefront at this time? The reason is two-fold: Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, leaving positions to be filled and, at the same time, young talent must be kept at firms for longer periods if they are to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.





Source: U.S. Bureau of Labour


There are three main models that companies use when succession planning: Contingency model Long term planning model Mixed model

Most common model of succession planning. Emergency replacement planning is focused on an immediate need caused by a circumstance within the organization retirement, growth or contraction of business. Generally, firms try to fill the role within the company, but often must go outside the organization if no one has been trained for the job. It is simple, low cost and uses current employees mostly. But Can lead to cloning replacing an employee with a carbon copy of the old employee regardless of whether or not those skills are the perfect fit

Dole, the worlds largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables Work to centralize their succession planning process across the company Dole often had to go outside the company to look for talent as it had no way of filling positions across company branches. An organization-wide effort was created to develop talent internally and minimize emergency efforts by looking at the future of the organization, the internal talent and the growth path that would be necessary to develop in-house managers.


Long-term planning focuses on the future needs of the organization. Working within the strategic framework for the companys future goals, senior management identifies the positions necessary for growth and the best candidates to fill those roles. Some companies invite all employees to take part in an assessment process, while others have managers identify leadership candidates. Defines and builds future skills needed for the success of the organization and Empowers employees by involvement in their career growth. Costly and time consuming to develop and maintain also Existing employee-base may not have (or develop) required skills for critical posts and outside hiring can lead to resentment.

Healthcare manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has a renowned leadership development program where a handful of top graduates each year join an accelerated, two-year program of work and classroom study, rotating throughout different functional areas of the organizations companies and divisions. Through this intensive program the understudies gain technical and leadership skills that will be required in their future years with the company. Provides them with incentive to commit to the organization long-term and become a valuable contributor to the firms growth and success.

A complete succession plan combines emergency and long-term planning This model allows senior management to plan for the long-range growth of both the company and individuals within the organization and prepare for last minute replacements to ensure that service is not interrupted by knowledge loss or lack of staff. The complexity of the model can be difficult to develop, maintain and communicate to employees, and, without proper explanation of the system

The article further sates the three critical factors that should be considered by human resource professionals during the process of succession planning and they are: Strategic planning Knowledge and criticality of the role Talent Management as a holistic process

Strategic planning -This involves a review of the organizational strategy and building systems based on the internal and external factors Knowledge and criticality of the role Here the HR professional will have to identify the critical roles for effective retention of talent and knowledge Talent Management- Finally succession planning has to be viewed as a sum of multiple inputs and hence on should have a talent management philosophy where recruitment, career development, learning, retention are viewed as various dimensions of the entire process. The organization thus should have an integrated approach to manage and develop employees and plan for their career advancement.

Most companies have realized the importance of the succession planning process. But it is a complex process at the end. The companies that embrace succession planning as part of their human capital strategy now will have an advantage as the current generation of leaders retires.