Succession planning is always an important part of the Management and HR process. In 2020, it may be our most important priority next to the safety of employees and cash flow. As employees adjust to new personal priorities and the health realities that come with a pandemic, the need for succession planning for management and strategic personnel is more important than ever.
We often chat with leaders who have 1-3 key personnel they are concerned about for succession planning. Often these people are nearing retirement age and some of them have had serious health issues in the past. A much deeper dive into an organizational chart would likely find dozens of strategic roles that can have a huge impact if left vacant. If those roles are empty for a few weeks or months, it could seriously damage the organization.
That’s why having 2-3 potential internal or external candidates ready to move into these roles is very important. It should be the responsibility of every manager to have a list of 10 warm internal or external prospects on hand to fill the key roles that they manage. In the event that someone quits, gets sick, or separates from the organization, having people they are maintaining a relationship with to fill a role is essential.
By maintaining relationships and tracking this in a spreadsheet with possible succession candidates at all times, it is a reminder our organizations are fluid and resilient; able to weather any storm. The alternative can be catastrophic with safety, production, customer, and cash flow all put at risk of major losses.