Succession Risk Management overview

Making a success of succession.

Think about the three key people in your organisation. By this, I mean the three people whose skills are the least replaceable and most critical to future success. Got them in your head? Now imagine that two of them had to leave your organisation within the next six months.

What would happen? Would your organisation swim effortlessly, flounder a bit or sink straight to the bottom?

Personnel change can happen for any number of reasons that aren’t always within your control: illness, a change in personal circumstances, an irresistible offer. But happen it does, and organisations need to ensure that they always have the best possible people filling their most critical roles. That means being in a position to fill key positions within weeks rather than months, so that the essential work of the organisation can continue.

Which is where an experienced external consultant like People Measures can help. Talent management practices can be designed to identify your best people and focus on developing them to full potential. Research shows that talented people are more likely to be retained if they are supported and developed. Of course by keeping them, your organisation benefits by keeping it’s most precious and scarce resource- and its competitive advantage.

My colleagues and I believe that organisations need to view talent management as a people risk management strategy. This is the most effective way of gaining the support and proactive involvement of senior executives within an organisation. It’s also a way to ensure that identified  successors for critical roles are given adequate support.

A succession risk management strategy needs to be customised for the organisation and its context. There is no single best practice approach to mitigate the risk of not having critical roles filled. To develop the most effective strategy, the following questions need to be answered:

  • If the organisation is to execute its strategy and be competitive into the future, which roles are critical?
  • Which skills are emerging as critical for future, ongoing organisational success?
  • Do existing internal staff have the potential to fill critical roles? Are they demonstrating the emerging skills necessary for success?
  •  How available are these skills in the external market? (How expensive and how easy would it be to attract people with these skills?)
  • Which skills are hardest to source internally and externally?

Once you have answered these questions, you’re then in a position to define the knowledge, experience, motivation and capabilities most important to your organisation’s future success.  Again external experts can offer objectivity and experience to assist organisations to define capabilities which are critical to the future needs of the organisation.

You can then be creative about how you best attract, retain and develop your talent in these critical areas.