How succession planning can protect your business during COVID-19
In our last blog, we covered what succession planning is and why it’s important. When we’re looking at business as usual, succession planning is a great way to get organised and understand who the highflyers in your business are. This allows you to plan ahead for when someone gets promoted or leaves unexpectedly.
According to this article from Human Resources Director, it is vital for businesses to ensure “they have properly documented succession plans in place” during this pandemic stating what should happen if key team members, stakeholders, or even owners become sick or financially incapacitated.
Why is it vital? Because having these measures in place can help to protect your business in a number of ways. To help break this down, here are out top five.
1. Improve transparency
During times of uncertainty, your people will be feeling as unsure of what’s ahead as you are. The thing with an event like COVID-19 is that everyone feels its affects. So it’s important to be transparent and clear with your people as the situation develops and as you grow to understand what it means for your organisation.
This transparency begins with having a clear picture of your full organisation – this is where the traditional use of succession planning comes into play. By making the organisational structure and skillsets of your people visible and transparent to everyone involved in the decision-making process, managing the financial uncertainty will become a lot easier for your business and your people.
2. Plan for financial uncertainty
A huge part of succession planning during COVID-19 is looking at how to pan for financial uncertainty. Whether you’re losing leads, your shops are closing, sales are dropping, or your finances need to be prioritised into specific areas with little-to-no warning, succession planning allows you to regain control of the future of your organisation.
A huge range of businesses have been and continue to be impacted by this pandemic, so in order to maintain financial security and make the right decisions quickly, you need to be armed with data and have a clear understanding of the place of your people within the organisation.
4. Improve communication
Whether your organisation has 500 or 500,000 employees, communication is a vital part of making any process of change happen smoothly and effectively. The current and ongoing uncertainty can make planning feel impossible, but communicating with your direct reports, line managers, and the people at every level of your organisation can help them to feel included in the decision-making process. Using thorough succession planning allows you to plan comms in advance of changes taking place.
Anyone having to furlough staff is hoping to retain those people once this is all over, and communication is a vital part of managing the ongoing situation. Continuing to communicate with your people once they have been furloughed is also important – they are still a part of your team, they’re just not able to function in the same way for the company at this time.
4. Develop trust
Ultimately, a lot of this trust is going to come from communication. However, the trust needed here isn’t just from your employees. Should you work with long-standing clients, have regular customers, or be a big name organisation, developing trust from the public and the people who have invested their time and money in your brand is incredibly important.
We’ve already seen backlash for a variety of organisations who haven’t treated their people with the respect and care they deserved. Communicating openly with your customers and, if needs be, with the public are important to the continued success of and trust in your organisation once this is over.
5. Create a contingency plan
Succession planning starts with understanding how you can manage your people as efficiently as possible in times of financial hardship. However, it’s also important to use this opportunity to plan for key people – stakeholders, investors, business owners, and members of the C-Suite and other management teams – having to take unexpected absences due to COVID-19, other health problems, or bereavement.
Succession planning allows you to create caretaker roles so you have a plan b if someone critical to the business suddenly isn’t around. Planning for staffing changes is step one, but creating solid contingency is how you can protect your business against the impact of this pandemic in the long run.
In a world where the rules, guidelines, and economy are changing on a daily basis, it pays to be prepared. We can help.
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