August 21, 2019
Succession Planning 06 June 2017
How to Score Big with Succession Planning
Dillon Chen
score big with succession planning

The Championships are here! Who are you hoping comes out on top? The Warriors or The Cavs? Whatever side you're on you know every player needs to be on point and that the game can't be carried by one single star. 

Basketball is a great example of a teamwork sport. Winning is determined not only by each player’s individual skills but also how coordinated everybody is on offense and defense. Every team has a game plan where each player has a role to play. This plan lets players know their roles, who they should cover, and where they should go next to grab the ball. 

Just like your favorite NBA team, you need a game plan when it comes to business as well! Like any good game plan, you've got to know where the gaps are in your team, the skills needed to fill the gaps, and how to train the players (employees) to get to that point. We're going to walk you through play by play and teach you how to score big with succession planning

First, let’s review the succession planning process:

While it seems easy enough to do, this process can vitally affect a company’s strategy and growth. Succession is often informal and done on an “as needed” basis. However, there are many benefits for both employees and the company to having a formalized succession plan in place. 

Succession planning benefits to the company. 

Anybody who watches the NBA Playoffs or Finals knows that you don’t just want strong starting players, you also need to have strong players on the bench to switch out when starters get tired or injured. If the team has a star player that they depend on, the entire team is going to suffer if that player ends up unable to play.

Imagine the effect it would have if one of your project managers suddenly quits and moves away, or your sales manager takes a better offer with another company one day. Would you have someone available to immediately step in and have enough understanding to take the lead and make important decisions? 

Any delay where a key leadership position is empty can lead to severe losses for the company. 

If nobody is available to fill the job right away, the extra responsibilities (and extra stress and burdens) will have to be split between other employees in the company until someone can be trained for the role. 

In the worst-case scenario, you may even have to start hiring someone from the outside to fill the position. This brings a whole set of new problems such as trying to find the best candidate, having to retrain a new hire from the ground up, getting them adapted to company culture, and teaching them how the company works as a team. 

Real-Life Examples

Could you imagine how hard it would be for a basketball team to rebuild in the event of an unexpected departure? For example, the Chicago Bulls had built a championship culture and accomplished multiple 3-peats with Michael Jordan at the helm. At the end of the 1997-1998 season, Michael Jordan retired. 

The following year, the Chicago Bulls went on to win a total of 13 games, a massive difference, that began a losing pattern for years to come. This is the result of an organization's failure to prepare contingency plans and they paid the price for it. Don’t make the same mistake.

Recently, one of our clients had the person in charge of content creation leave the company with very little notice. When that employee left, it caused a lot of hassle! Tasks had to be reassigned and shared among other employees. Everyone had to take on an extra load. They had to decipher that employee's organization methods, there were setbacks on deadlines, and it messed with the overall company dynamic. Having someone already training and ready to step in if needed as a backup who was familiar with the process could have saved a lot of time, money, and stress. 

These are just a few examples that prove the need for succession planning and validates what we’ve been hearing from many other companies who’ve had similar experiences. A proper succession plan allows the company or team to be prepared so that the loss of key employees do not hurt the company. You will avoid confusion and save on the cost and difficulty of recruiting outside.

Succession planning benefits to employees. 

If you have great players, you wouldn't bench them, would you? Ensure you’re allowing them to reach their full potential. Not only that, you want to help improve and train them to be the very best! If you aren’t making full use of your employees you'll see a drop in productivity and overall progress. They won't feel valued and they are not benefitting from your team. Don’t be surprised if they end up taking their talents to another team next season! 

Employees have expectations for the trajectory of their career growth and are seeking transparency with employers. They want to know their future, their potential, how can they contribute and grow? 

Setting up a career pathway like the one available through Prosky’s Pathways allow candidates and employees to see exactly what growth opportunities are available to them. They will know what the next position up the line is, what the requirements are, and they understand what skills they have to develop in order to fill that next role. 

Instead of stagnating and just doing the same old job every day, they are preparing themselves for that inevitable time that they will be promoted and upgrade their role. This increases their motivation and sense of purpose because they feel valued as an employee. Employees know their managers see their potential and are willing to work with them to grow within the company. 

Pathways allow you to better implement internal hiring when positions open up and improve retention rates because employees see a future with your company and know what they are working towards. 

In my last job programming iPhone applications, I was put in charge of debugging and version updates of existing apps. An important job, but as you can imagine, not very exciting or interesting! Instead of reading through old code every day, I would have loved the chance to create new apps or manage a project. Instead, after one of our finance people quit, I randomly ended up in charge of accounting and HR for the company. It was a drastic change, and I had to learn a lot of new skills to fit the role. 

I really wish there had been some sort of succession plan in place to either move me up to the coding side of things giving me opportunities to grow beyond debugging all day or a pathway preparing me to take over the finance and HR duties.


Other Benefits

Succession planning allows higher up and important positions within the company to be filled by people with experience working for the company. Employees that have familiarity with the company culture and procedure, and who you have built a trust with through training and interaction. Done right, it will keep the outside hiring mostly contained to lower-level entry jobs where they can start on their own career pathway into your company!

Employees sometimes leave for natural reasons such as retirement. Through succession planning, you can take these situations into account and have them train the next in line to take their place. Their replacement will be able to benefit from their expertise as much as possible before they leave making the transition smooth. No unanswered questions, all the processes, and procedures will be handed off.  

Having a succession plan in place will not only help your team make the playoffs, but it will also help prepare your business for any bumps that might happen along the way. It’s all in the name: Succession planning helps your company plan to succeed! Set up a demo with ProSky and see how ProSky Pathways can help jumpstart your succession planning today!