Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How Can HR Develop a Meaningful Succession Plan?

Change is a constant and is occurring quickly with many companies lacking the expertise to deal with an evolving business environment.  Issues such as global competition, changes in technology and the need to modify business models are factors that contribute to a very complex work environment.  To meet this challenge organizations will often determine that the best way to plan for their future is to create a succession plan through-out the organization.  By implementing these three succession plan initiatives companies will ensure that there is no interruption in service, innovation or customer support.

Hiring the Right Talent

With unemployment at record lows companies today face a variety of challenges with hiring the right talent for the job at the top of the list.  Organizations today not only need to offer a competitive wage, top-tier benefits but they also need to build a strong employer brand that allows for their employees to feel proud of where they work.  HR departments as the gate keeps for the talent pool need move as quickly as possible to ensure that the hiring process does not get side-tracked.  Many companies will lose excellent candidates because of a very slow hiring process.  Key to the hiring of staff in key positions is the process of thinking beyond the current job that is being filled.  Do your candidates have strong problem solving skills, exceptional communication attributes and have high ethical standards.  Evaluate the candidate not only for the current position that they are applying for but also for their next job.

Improve the Company’s Bench Strength at the Management Level

Executives today are uneasy about their organizational leaders’ ability to handle unexpected challenges.  There's a lot at stake as new managers already have a high rate of failure in the first 12 months of being promoted to a management role.  These leaders often have a difficult time assessing the demands of business, processing and sharing information in a timely manner and talent management.  Human Resource departments can play a pivotal role in helping these new leaders succeed in their job by offering personalized training programs targeted to their particular needs.  HR can also ensure success by developing learning programs that are skill based, that can be applied immediately and are tied to future business challenges.  As part of the process HR will also need to evaluate the gaps in leadership skills in order to determine where training is needed, necessary and applicable.  According to the Future of HR survey by Gartner in 2019 serious gaps at the leadership is a barrier to their success.

As can be seen above leadership gaps are occurring in succession plan development. The goal for the future should be to enhance the strategic and creative thinking through-out the organization so that management can focus on how to better position their company for success and ensure that there is no interruption in the talent pool.

Build a Succession Plan that is Flexible and Targeted

One of the key functions of an HR leader is to hire right, create depth in the organization and secure the company’s success by building a succession plan that is both flexible and targeted.  Succession plans are a tool to create an immediate candidate pool of qualified internal employees when a key employee departs the organization.  Succession plans should initially be developed around the C-suite staff followed by more detailed plans around key managers, supervisors and individual contributors.  The goal of “purview” or key personnel is to ensure that they receive the training, developmental tools and mentoring so that they are ready to assume a bigger role with a position is identified.  The criteria for purview employees are that they need to be exceeding job requirements, have been with the company a minimum of 24 months and have the skills, knowledge and ability to assume a great role in the future.  These employees may be unaware that they have been targeted for development; however, HR should take an active role in their career.

By hiring the right talent from the beginning, developing employees that show promise and building succession plans that encourage internal career development through a formal program companies can will mitigate potential gaps in leadership.


  1. Very informative post. One of my friend who is Human Resource in Reputed Multinational company Actually I would definitely like to share this post with her and she will definitely learn something new. Thanks for sharing guys!


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