Succession Planning - A Saviour during Recession

Praveena Poojari Menon


Succession pill for a slowing economy!

The epic pandemic in the history of mankind: COVID-19 has posed quite many challenges apart from just the health and well-being of individuals. Not only has it pushed the world economy in an acute conundrum, but also has posed critical challenges in resource maximisation and optimisation. Recession is perhaps the term that all most all sectors (barring Pharmaceutical and Healthcare) of the economy have to brace themselves with, in the current new normal.

Never before, a pandemic of such stature, in no explicit terms, has highlighted the importance of succession planning in a risk management and business continuity strategy, as it has now!

Circa the pre-pandemic era (if we may term so!), the mountain of succession planning could have been the last thing in the minds of any corporate body. As the global economy would eventually trundle out of the recession blues, it would start to re-emphasize upon the pursuit of Succession Planning. The importance of nurturing and growing lean employee resource has its crux in hiring and promoting the best in-house talent, for new strategic directions as an organizational way of life.

For companies who ignore the need for succession planning, risk potentially losses to the overall organizational growth and financial profits. Companies which consciously engage actively with their workforce control the overall employee costs, minimise risks, nurture human capital, give opportunity and increase loyalty amongst their employee base.

Amidst many challenges posed by the pandemic, the key light at the end of the tunnel is the availability of one resource, which is TIME- more so now due to work from home model. Corporates, now need to smartly utilise this precious resource to shape up their talent acquisition strategy. Several companies have people, teams and structures to ensure quality talent acquisition during the normal times. However, as witnessed in this pandemic era, the hiring activity has taken a jolt. In light of this, perhaps now is the time, to shift gears to assess and augment the succession planning efforts leading to a better future for the organization.

Benefits of Succession Planning:

  • Retaining intellectual property.
  • Acts as a replacement cushion in the event of a sudden leader or employee exit.
  • Transfer of the business knowledge from experienced to the lesser experienced hands.
  • Lowers the human asset turnover rate.
  • Bestows heightened productivity.
  • Lesser time to train a replacement
  • Lesser replacement cost in the advent of last-minute organizational employee movements.

Make no mistake, succession planning is not an overnight exercise to be focussed when we are running out of talent, rather it must be an on-going conscious focus in the organizational journey…

Every business has to have a strong foundation towards Succession planning for growing their inhouse talent. A solid foundation of succession planning to leverage in-house talent can be built around following four phases:

Succession Planning needs to be linked to the organisational strategy

Linking talent growth to the organisational long-term growth endows ‘profitability’. An organisation needs to develop a culture of speed to opportunity, which can be better developed as a ‘cultural shift’ driven by the top management bench.

Talent pool should be well- managed, lest treated as a tick-in-the-box rigour

An organization well managing its talent pool means it is well accelerating growth & development opportunities. While the management goal is to make the most effective use of someone’s talent, an organisation ‘s goal is to translate that into profits, which explains why it is imperative that every phase in the assessment and development process needs to be woven into the top line business strategy.

Clear visibility of fast development

Development needs to be communicated clearly right onto the last mile resource. Once talent buckets are identified, quickly complementing it with a realistic development and implementation plan is paramount.

Measure the talent growth by have right measures to ensure its successful

The bottom-line question needs to ask is: whether our Succession Planning strategy really delivered the desired results?

In the journey of succession planning, organizations need to evaluate the business value around assessing some of the following factors:

  • Voluntary Turnover
  • Top Talent retention
  • Top Talent paid at or above estimated market value
  • Engagement Scores
  • Percent of high potentials those were promoted and/or given an expanded role
  • Percent of critical jobs with at least one successor.

The realities of a continued talent crunch and an ever-widening gap between the number of jobless and the number of skilled/ technical talent is driving of succession management a priority in the companies, whether pandemic or not.

While the costs of avoiding succession management are significant, the rewards for companies practicing succession management are greater. Succession management can be incorporated into any sized company, right from a smallest start-up and up to the large corporate giants.

So, if you haven’t strengthened your succession management planning yet, TIME TO DO SO IS NOW!