No manager wants to arrive at the office and find one of their top performing employees has decided to leave the organisation. This is even worse if there are no suitable internal candidates in the talent pipeline to replace them, leading to an often timely and costly external search.

Companies should strive to have a plan in place where several qualified, prepared successors exist internally. Companies should also be prepared for the domino effect created when an internal promotion is made.

So how do you prepare for a succession event when it occurs?

Invest in a robust succession planning strategy

Today’s environment calls for strategic succession plans with a clear relationship to long-term goals. Organisations that invest in identifying and retaining top talent are rewarded with a strong, diverse pool of qualified internal candidates ready to step up as positions become vacant.

The first step is identifying the skills, traits and performance criteria that are the most valuable to your organisation. With clear benchmarks in place, the planning can begin.

A succession road map needs to capture data on all employees in the company. Data should include experience, strengths and weaknesses, potential future promotions, career goals, role criticality and flight risk.

With the click of a button, the HR leader or management team should be able to do a gap analysis and determine how many potential internal candidates exist for alternative positions within the next 0-1 years, 1-3 years and so on. This analysis can also provide visibility on training opportunities that can enhance specific capabilities and help close skills gaps.

Consider how to entice your top talent to remain

Being able to identify top talent and create attractive career paths is an effective approach for retaining top talent. Invest in a cycle of training, coaching and mentoring. Lack of succession planning can lead to a lack of opportunity which can result in people leaving. The goal is to reduce the number of top employees who are under-challenged, under compensated and undertrained.

Encourage on the job learning. This demonstrates to the employee that the company is willing to invest time and energy into their career development, solidifying the bond between company and employee. Further promotions and succession events will help retain top employees as they are challenged professionally and compensated for their success.

Research shows that top employees are committed to companies that create “strong mentoring relationships and challenging work assignments.”

While the battle for top talent continues to wage, companies who are better equipped to retain their “high potentials” will be in a better position to act quickly when an employee departs. The more energy and resources put into retaining and training top talent, the easier it will be to promote from within. With clearly laid succession plans in place, seamless internal transitions will be more the norm with less time and money having to be spent on external candidate searches.

Learn more about how ELMO can help your organisation.
Learn more about how ELMO can help your organisation.