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HR Services delivered as and when you need them

How to grow your own future leaders

As we head into 2014 many of us will be thinking about and planning for the coming year. But it isn’t just our personal lives that benefit from a little forethought.

It’s not a revelation that planning is integral to many aspects of business, but one of the key areas that is often overlooked is succession planning – the process for identifying those that will drive the future success of the business.

Many business owners are concerned about the lack of future candidates available to absorb both planned and unplanned losses from critical roles – placing the future continuity and performance of the business at risk.

Effective succession planning is the key to avoiding such an issue. Like so many HR topics, succession planning can sometimes seem complicated and confusing – putting people off implementing it all together. But it needn’t be.

Here are a few simple steps to ‘growing your own’ future leaders:

– It isn’t just about having a plan. Planning is all very well, but as we all know, it’s the execution of the plan that matters. Endless forms, charts, and checklists will not help to deliver the strong candidates you are looking for, but a robust and challenging development process will.

– Measure outcomes, not process.  In order to make succession planning a priority within your organisation it needs to be a priority – that is, the outcomes of the process should be assessed and rewarded in the same way as any other key business area. This will also help to track progress, guide future efforts, and inform mid-course corrections.

–  Provide opportunities. Providing critical development experiences to those that can move into key roles is an important part of succession planning. This means offering opportunities such as such as lateral moves, assignments to special projects, team leadership roles, and both internal and external training and development opportunities.

–  Stay realistic. However, it is vital that succession plans are realistic so as to avoid giving a false sense of security to the business and unrealistic expectations to the individual. For example, it’s no good saying that a candidate should move to sales job to gain the experience she needs for her next step up the ladder when, in reality, the business wouldn’t risk putting someone with no sales experience into a sales job. Only give the promise of succession if there is a realistic chance of its happening.

Done properly, succession planning has a number of benefits. Your business will be able to respond in a way that provides opportunities for your team – encouraging them to continue to grow and develop in a way that benefits them and the business. In turn, this can help to improve retention rates and result in higher staff motivation and engagement as employees have a clear view of their career path.

For support with all aspects of succession planning and team development, management, contact TurnstoneHR on 01229 615 280 or email us at for a FREE consultation.

“There is evidence to suggest that good HR practice and people management in SMEs are key factors in strong business performance and can lead to increased productivity.”

- CIPD people Skills Project 2017


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