succession planning

Planning For Success – Creating A Proactive Succession Plan



When promoting employees, the saying “Failure to plan is planning to fail” is absolutely appropriate – particularly given your employee’s careers and livelihoods are affected.

Succession planning processes are designed to provide this plan, by identifying promotional opportunities for existing employees and then providing them with a set of criteria to meet which indicates they will be ready for their future role.

Internal promotion is attractive to many companies for several key reasons. Firstly, it is more cost-effective than hiring a new employee. Secondly, the internal employee will adapt to their new role faster than a new one, as they will be fully integrated into the organisational culture already. Third, each employee will be motivated to perform well in their current role if they know they have senior roles on offer in future.

However, organisations must be careful in how they carry out succession planning. Too often we find managers promoting employees based purely on their KPIs in their existing role, rather than matching them to the requirements of future roles.

To provide an example, let’s say you have a sales professional who is smashing their sales targets, clients love them, and they get along with everyone in the office. Surely, they would be the best option for promotion to sales manager?

Maybe not. While they may be a top performer in their current role, they may struggle in a more management-oriented position. They could have issues holding their team accountable resulting in missed deadlines. They could find it hard to trust others, which can lead to unnecessary micro-management. They may also struggle to operate in a more ambiguous environment, where they are the ones calling the shots and delegating tasks.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are unable to perform in the role. It may just be the case that they need training and development moving into it, so they have strategies on hand they can rely on when they are placed in situations that don’t utilise their natural strengths.

A more concerning phenomenon we see in too many organisations are managers promoting based on how much they like the employee, or how well they play the favouritism game, rather than how good they are a fit to the role in question. This disadvantages the employee, as they may not even be a good fit for their new role. It disadvantages the promoting manager, as they will potentially have to answer for sub-par performance if the newly promoted employee doesn’t shape up. And finally, it disadvantages the company by reduced performance and perceptions of unfairness among the staff.

For these key reasons, Peoplogica have developed an objective, accurate, and cost-effective process for succession planning. By using tools such as Psychometric assessments, we can greatly assist our clients to achieve the following goals:

  • Role benchmarking. Map out what exactly is required in the role, from a behavioural, cognitive, and motivational perspective.
  • Candidate Comparison. Assess and compare internal candidates against the role benchmark to identify their fit and chance of success in the role. Identify the top 2 or 3 to be considered.
  • Candidate Development. Identify the strengths and development areas in top candidates and design an objective management plan so that they can ease into the position. Schedule regular one on one meetings to track progress.
  • Promote. Based on the above criteria, use the information from the assessments, their performance reviews, and their ongoing development meetings to objectively and accurately select the best candidate for promotion.

Following this process ensures you will reliably select the best internal candidate for promotion, time and time again. It also cuts out any subjectivity or unconscious bias, ensuring you select the best candidate based on their performance rather than how much you like them personally.

If succession planning will be a focus in your organisation in the near future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss in more detail. 

Written by Michael Mancinone

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