Apple did not suffer crisis after the death of Steve Jobs, because they had a Succession Plan – What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a contingency strategy that helps resolve uncertainties arising in an organization. Though the uncertainties cannot be predicted, it can be planned well ahead before it could happen.


What is succession planning?

The primary objective of succession plan is to make the organization functionalities flow normally and regularly irrespective of absence of any employee. Organizations identify key employees (either within the organization or recruit and onboard) provide training based on their skills and competencies for filling future vacancies that may arise at any time within the organization.


Succession Planning – 5 Step Process

1. Identify critical positions

It is really essential and important to identify key positions/roles in an organization. Loss/absence of the key roles might disable the functions of an organization and also makes the rest of the employees reluctant to progress further.

 2. Identify Competencies

The next step is to identify the essential capabilities that are needed to accomplish the key roles in an organization.

3. Identify succession management strategies

When the above 2 steps are done, then figure out whether you have potential candidates within the organization. If yes, go ahead provide necessary training and needful assistance to them. Else, recruit new candidates and start the onboarding process.

4. Document and implement succession plan

Whatever strategy you have adapted and have in place, start the process of succession planning – identify key employees, provide training & necessary assistance and most importantly record and document the results and outcome of the performances.

5. Evaluate Effectiveness

When the succession plan progresses effectively, it is necessary to review the documented results, analyze the outcome and coordinate the work force data to organization success.


Why is succession planning important?

Succession planning is really important for the following 2 reasons.

  1. Organizations grow over a period of time. Hence, employees switch roles moving a step ahead professionally. No one remains the same, sticking to the same role all through his/her career. Organizations grow and so do employees. Succession planning helps organizations to triangulate results on who to be posted (job position) where, say when they plan for a new branch office in a different geography, open multiple offices across the state or country, etc. Thus succession planning helps employees transform to new roles and explore his/her career graph.
  2. Organizations suffer drop offs, layoffs or other job vacancies due to many reasons. The reasons go along a row: Employees retire from work, they switch jobs, attrition, etc. However, none of the actions should cease the normal functioning of the organization. Succession plan helps organization forecast sudden/future job vacancies and help resolve or overcome faster.

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Most of the organizations adapt succession plan only for senior roles who retire from their job or who move to a new role, as they are more concerned losing key employees. Since it is the most important component, it is a good practice if the organizations take it to all levels of management.


Benefits of Succession Planning

  1. It serves as a contingency planning strategy that keeps organizations prepared for future vacancies.
  2. It helps aligning human resources along the organization goals placing right people in the right work.
  3. Provides stability to Managers & other critical positions to understand team member’s strengths and capabilities.
  4. It helps through work force renewal thereby providing employee development and training.
  5. Employees tend to stay with the organizations for long if they know that their organization has future plans for them. Thus, they stay focused on the organization goals and are self-motivated to strive to achieve the objectives.
  6. Employees survive their career progress live in the organization and feel contended towards their work.

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