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Are you taking care of your company’s future?

31.03.2016

Are you taking care of your company’s future?

Identifying, developing and recruiting talent with the potential to fill key positions in the long-term is hugely important for any growing business.

Succession planning used to be strictly in the board room, helping company director’s to prepare for worst case scenarios. Focus was all too often placed on the most senior leaders, with rarely any consideration for those lower down the pecking order that are critical to business continuity.

An ageing workforce and scarcity of talent in many sectors has more recently elevated its importance and, while it still plays a pivotal role in ensuring the right skills are in position at the top, the weight of emphasis has changed significantly to include the most accomplished employees regardless of title.

People are realising that a lack of foresight across the breadth of a business can result in major problems for ongoing prosperity; meaning if you don’t already focus on long-term recruitment strategies and development of the right people, your future growth will suffer.

If you’re in the process of developing a succession plan, the first thing to recognise is that it is a gradual process, rather than an event. Succession should be considered way ahead of time, but ideally with the flexibility to allow it to be implemented at a moment’s notice if required.

To begin, start by identifying the foundations of your business success. Once mapped, try asking yourself a few questions like: What is the level of staff turnover in key areas? Who are the most critical employees? What is their average age? When will they retire? How likely are they to leave the business?

Coupled with the long-term direction of the company, this should begin to give you a clear understanding of where the talent and skills gaps are, along with the areas that require continuity plans to be put in place and the individuals that need support and bespoke programmes of personal development in order to be ready to step up when the time comes.

As a leader, one of your most important roles is to clear a path that enables your team to focus on the things they do best, the things you recruited them to do. With the most transient workforce in history, this simple exercise will provide you with a starting point from which you can build a dynamic and ever changing plan of action that will add genuine value to your business when you need it most.

Not only will it reduce the level of disruption caused should a key member of staff decide to move on, but it will help to develop a regular flow of well-trained people across your organisation who are constantly learning, being challenged and stimulated; all of which makes them less likely to want to leave themselves.

Once you’ve completed your review and identified the employees who are your potential ‘successors’, your succession plan will begin to form your recruitment strategy.

Armed with the knowledge of where potential vulnerabilities exist in your business, you can easily see where you should be focussing your external efforts and bolstering the capacity within your team.

In my experience, such a clear, long-term approach is rare in recruitment and will help enormously if you decide to work with a dedicated recruitment partner. Being able to advise a specialist agency, who knows the market well, on the type of people that fit with your plans, will make it significantly easier for them to engage only the right talent on your behalf.

Given the current skills shortages, it will also allow them to support you proactively on an ongoing basis, identifying ambitious people who are looking to be trained up in the areas that will neutralise your weaknesses.

As the relationship grows, even when the initial recruitment has been completed, such a high level of understanding will allow your partner to remain on a constant look-out for people who fit with your succession and recruitment needs; which is when you’ll really start to get ahead of the game.

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