Succession management as a strategic blueprint

Unique Challenge

Blueprints, when used in construction, ensure a structure is built to last. Succession management is like those architectural drawings, in that it requires thoughtful planning, a clear process and useful resources. When properly implemented, succession management creates a structurally sound workforce that stands out in a crowded marketplace. Unify Consulting understands the importance of a sturdy foundation. This succession management blueprint will help organizations engage, retain and grow talent.

Bespoke Approach

A well-executed succession management strategy requires integrating workforce planning, succession planning and leadership development. Each component must align with an organization’s strategy and objectives to accurately predict — and proactively address — the future of its workforce.

What does this look like?

Baseline Measurement

Measuring the talent health of an organization establishes a clear baseline of strengths and risks. Rank candidates using a straightforward readiness-based scale based using the following indicators:

  • Ready Now
  • Ready in 1-2 Years
  • Ready in 3-5 Years

Many organizations are moving toward a more experienced-based scale. This approach supports development conversations and targets learning, job rotation, projects and new responsibilities. However, each person takes a different amount of time to grown through those experiences.

To identify future talent, it is crucial to have meaningful aspirational conversations with candidates, coupled with a realistic view of their capabilities and future potential.

Align workforce planning with business strategy

One study suggests 68 percent of organizations do not use a strategic approach to workforce planning. In addition to inefficiencies, vacant strategic roles can cost organizations nearly $7,000, or more, per day.

Strategic roles account for about 10 to 15 percent of the workforce — and this goes beyond senior management. And, while essential strategy execution roles may be predictable and repeatable, consider others that may drive key initiatives, even those that only last a few years.

Succession planning using talent slates and profiles

A talent slate identifies each department’s roles and potential successors. Potential successors may also include employees outside of the department, highlighting opportunities for talent mobility. Using the talent slate, potential successors are evaluated in more detail by developing profiles that include descriptions about each candidate regarding their aspirations, potential and capabilities.

Assessing and developing core leadership competencies

Finally, a methodology for assessing a candidate’s competencies needs to be established. Once these competencies are identified and assessed, a plan can be created for moving candidates to “Ready Now.” An organization can then conduct regular talent reviews to consistently monitor and develop potential successors, in addition to ensuring the organization’s talent health.

Proven Impact

Unify understands that an intentional approach to succession management will ensure an organization is positioned for success. Just like following a blueprint, by strategizing around talent, it is possible to clearly identify what areas are at risk, what areas need attention and where a surplus of talent exists. These findings can be aligned with the organization’s strategy, ensuring the workforce will be prepared for immediate and long-term success.

Want to learn more about developing a lasting succession management strategy? Check our our Organizational Effectiveness practice or contact us today! We’ll equip you to build an actionable and strategic plan for building an effective talent pipeline that leverages workforce planning, succession planning and leadership development.