October 22, 2020
Succession Planning 16 March 2020
Optimizing Internal Hiring with Pathways
Hannah Son

When it comes to succession planning, it’s hard to believe that something so vital to an organization’s sustainability is frequently done extremely frivolously! Organizations are able to avoid mistakes in hiring and ultimately save time and money through the utilization of high-impact succession planning—a dynamic, continual hiring optimization process.

“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time.” -Marcus Buckingham

By understanding pathways, or, succession planning, organizations will arm themselves with a pool of talent ready to output optimal work. They will be equipped with skills, attributes, and experiences to fill specific as well as emerging positions. So if you are seeing a slowdown in hiring volume, or you want to optimize your internal hiring process, now’s the time to shift your focus towards Pathways!

Here are a few ways that Pathways can help optimize your internal hiring strategy:


Planning for the Unexpected

Organizations can use succession planning to buffer the risk of a vacancy occurring in key organizational positions that will impact the company’s performance. Succession planning mitigates the negative effects when roles become vacant by developing experienced and capable employees who are prepared to fill the gaps. Chris Myers, President and CEO of Professional Alternatives, tells us exactly why this is so important:

Succession planning is critical to the improvement of the company for there to be any long-term success within your business's future. When a key executive retires, or if an unforeseen event removes top leadership from their role, you have to ensure that business will carry on to the rest of your employees.

Employees will ultimately leave, retire, get fired or die. If a key employee suddenly departs the company for whatever reason, the company does not become handicapped by the loss. A well laid out Pathway will allow your organization to run without a hitch and be prepared for any and all contingencies that come their way. 


Development and Training for Employees

Establishing a career pathway allows you to look at your internal talent that can be trained to take over key roles on a timeline typically consistent with a foreseeable vacancy. Pathways will help develop key internal employees to be ready to step up when needed. 

Succession planning is advantageous for both employee and employer. According to The Balance, advantages for employers include:

  • You rely on staff to carry out the mission and the vision and to accomplish the goals of the organization. The loss of a key employee can undermine your ability to accomplish these important objectives.

  • You need prepared employees to step into roles as your company grows and expands its offerings and services. Or, your lack of developed employees will stymie your growth plans.

  • The need to have replacement employees ready if you decide to promote employees or redesign your organization enables you to make necessary changes without being hampered by a lack of replacements.

  • Knowledge about key, skilled, contributing employees is shared with managers organization-wide. This information allows managers to consider the widest number of candidates for any open job.

  • The Baby Boomer generation is in the process of retiring. They are taking with them 30-40+ years of knowledge, experience, working relationships, and information. You want to capture that knowledge before it walks out your door. 

Instead of scrambling for someone to fill the position when there is an opening, start developing and training your staff to be promoted. If employees know they will be in a leadership position sometime in the future, they will work harder at preparing themselves. Whoever is currently in that position will also be able to provide insights and advice to help the successor avoid making the same mistakes they have in the past. Nicole Gallicchio, COO of Virtual Assist USA shares her experience with this:

At my current position, we have implemented cross-training and a team environment. This allows a seamless transition when someone is promoted for others to takeover. We also set a plan in place where we only promote from within, that way everything flows from bottom to top. It has made for a very easy process when there are a lot of moving parts.

Another benefit of this is that your most important positions are filled with the employees most experienced with your company and culture while hiring externally is used to fill more simple entry-level positions.

 

Fills Key Leadership Positions

The ultimate goal of a succession plan is to prepare and be prepared for top talent to fill key positions with as smooth of a transition as possible. If key leadership positions (positions that are vital to day-to-day operations) are filled seamlessly, the entire hiring process becomes more optimized. You won't have to worry about hiring for C-level management position and catching them up on everything! Malte Scholz, CEO and Co-Founder of Airfocus, shares his view on the importance of succession planning:

Succession planning is vital to running a company that wants to keep its employees and have great employee retention. If you have a documented succession plan, it means that you care about A) your own company enough to worry about your most important positions and B) your employees and their career development. 

In my current company, where I am one of the cofounders, we take great care when hiring so that each new hire can become a team lead in the future.

Without succession planning, organizations have to look for external talent meaning they have to find candidates who are filling a key role for a different organization. Internal candidates, however, have many advantages over external candidates:

  • They have already adjusted to the company culture. 

  • They also have established relationships and trust with other employees.

  • They have already shown that they are a high potential employee.

  • Their competency has been demonstrated over time.

  • They have knowledge of and familiarity with the day-to-day operations of the organization. 

  • By filling positions internally, you can reduce the time needed to reach proficiency, limit hiring costs, and eliminate turnover resulting from a poor fit with your organizational culture.

Ultimately, these points translate into less downtime and greater success for everyone involved and more logically, developing and retaining leadership talent is both a strategic and economic necessity.

Other Benefits

Effective succession planning provides enhanced and targeted employee development through a fully optimized internal hiring process which leads to higher engagement rates, improved employee motivation, greater company culture/morale and increased productivity. 

All this basically sums up the fact that with succession planning, there will be significantly reduced costs with better ROI and results for your organization. Morgan Taylor, Finance Expert & CMO for LetMeBank, says:

Think of a succession plan as a map for the future. Hiring internally is useful given that it tends to be less expensive for the executive positions and if you have a succession plan, you already know where to look. You need to take the time to make sure that everyone knows how the plan works and where to go with it.


Effective succession planning requires significant company investment and senior management that understands and is committed to individual development. It's absolutely vital that leaders are on board with succession planning in order for it to be successfully implemented into the organization. If these two standards are met, your succession plan will build up top talent in a way that will help retain and assure a pool of key talent. 

Interested in Pathways and Succession Planning? Check out ProSky’s platform,  it is an online web-based solution that empowers your organization to identify, retain, and develop top talent.