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Succession planning

Succession planning: What is it & how to do it right?

from  July 7, 2022 | 5 min read

Things don't always go according to plan—and this also applies to the HR world. While unforeseen events may take place at any time, it is important to have a plan for when they do.

Creating alternative plans like succession planning goes a long way in maintaining flexibility in the midst of chaos. This continuation strategy helps companies navigate unexpected scenarios, such as death, abrupt resignation, and more.

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is a process by which the role played by previous members of your company are passed on to other suitable candidates. It focuses on keeping the talent pipeline filled so that the business continues running smoothly. 

When there’s a staffing shortage, it can be difficult to find employees that meet your high standards. This preparation strategy ensures future candidates are well prepared and able for higher posts if needed, making sure you have what's necessary from the start.

How do we go about planning this? The answer is simple: follow these steps!

Step 1. Identify the key roles

A succession plan kicks off with one crucial step: identifying key positions and competencies. This includes looking at what skills are needed, analysing job profiles related specifically with those qualifications (and not just general "responsibilities"), and finding someone qualified who meets all requirements.

When hiring new employees, it’s essential to prioritise roles and provide opportunities for learning or growth. A key position doesn't always refer to the top positions in an organisation; supporting team members can also be critical players. 


Step 2. Establish future vacancies

In a company  it’s not an easy task to fill a position. Bridge the upcoming skill gap with professionals who are well-qualified and experienced in these fields that will be needed by your company's success moving forward. 

Anticipate potential vacancies and critical positions as n soon as you develop a succession plan. 

The old saying "a stitch in time saves nine" comes into play here. Plan ahead and take action now rather than waiting until after an employee leaves. 


Step 3. Identify the right skill set for your company

There are many strategies for succession planning. Choose a strategy that best meets your needs to bridge skill gaps in your team. 

Consider analysing not only competencies, but also institutional knowledge. How things work inside a business or organisation where these individuals worked before taking over. 

Make sure the prospective candidates have the essential skills or relevant experience before recruiting them.


Step 4. Objective employee evaluation for succession planning

It’s crucial to evaluate employees objectively. You need people who can learn new tasks as well so they are the best candidate possible. 

When looking for a replacement, consider the following:

  • good problem-solvers 
  • adaptable people with skills in multiple fields 
  • strong performers who know their own strengths and weaknesses


Step 5. Review and manage the transition

Evaluating your organisation's hiring strategy can be useful in identifying potential obstacles before they arise. 

The good thing is that the transition allows you to evaluate how successful your planning was. This process ensures that everything goes according to plan and no surprises come up along with it. 

The turnover rates, key positions filled and retention over time on a number of levels within the company are important metrics, which help review the transition. These aspects measure your recruitment’s success and help you identify the challenges you face along the road. 

Also, it’s necessary to document every step when setting up a succession plan. The reason being is that you can use the documents as reference if anything goes wrong or new requirements arise in the future. 

Final thoughts

The journey of succession planning can be a long one, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to do it properly. An effective succession plan assures you that you’re prepared for what comes next. Keep an eye out for potential employees who can perform future roles. 

We hope these steps will get you prepared when you’re faced with both workforce challenges and opportunities.

At Unit4, we recognise that succession planning is an imperative HR strategy. That's why we designed our HR system to cover essential HR functionalities, such as recruitment, performance appraisal, training-development, and more.

Learn more about how Prosoft HRMS can help you here.

Unit4 Prosoft

Unit4 Prosoft have been serving customers in Asia for 30 years and is trusted by over 1,000 businesses across the APAC region in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, construction, and professional services industries. Unit4 Prosoft HRMS has modules that support every aspect of your HRMS programs and allows you to manage people’s entire hire-to-retire cycle with a central control center and database. Your people get the flexibility and freedom to have what they need—how, when and where they need it.