What is succession planning and why is it important?

What is succession planning?

Example of succession planning - small figures climbing up wooden steps

When things are operating in the true sense of business as usual, succession planning is the process of determining how the members of your team can be reshuffled and restructured should someone leave, be promoted, or move to another department.

In the current times, succession planning uses these same principles in order to create transparency and enable you to plan ahead for the coming financial uncertainty.

Whether you have 50 staff members or 50,000, transparency and visibility is vital to the ongoing health of your organisation. In these trying times, there are a number of reasons you may wish to establish greater transparency, from org charts to spreadsheets to succession planning software.

org chart

Org charts are a great start, as the name suggests, to organise your company structure. However, succession planning and talent management take that organisation one step further.

In these trying times, preparation is key, so we wanted to take some time to talk you through what succession planning is and why it is so important.

Why is succession planning important?

Business continuity - man stopping dominoes falling

While organisations strive to provide “business continuity” and “business as usual”, succession planning is what allows you to carry on as close to normal as possible.

With governments across the world planning for financial uncertainty in different ways, mapping out your entire organisational structure, and understanding how everyone fits into that structure, is a vital step to keeping your business afloat.

In the UK for example, the government are offering to pay 80% of salaries for staff members who are put on a temporary leave of absence, also known as being furloughed. With thorough succession planning, you can then figure out which staff members are transferable, who is critical, and whose job role and requirements can be temporarily paused.

Making hard decisions in times of uncertainty

CEO and execs at a table making a hard decision re succession planning

No one wants to be in the position of furloughing staff or making anyone redundant, but if your organisation’s financial circumstances are changing, it is a challenge you may need to face.

Communication to your team and, if you’re a public-facing organisation, the wider world, is a crucial part of this process. In these times, you need a clear view of your people, what skills they have, which are transferable, and how to minimise financial and staff loss.

Having this clarity will enable you to plan and communicate these changes effectively, fairly, and with greater support from your people. In times of uncertainty, it pays to plan ahead.

We’re here to help

We’ve adapted some of our software into a Talent & Succession planning tool specifically to help you tackle the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or to get in touch with our team, click the link below.

Find out more about succession planning

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