Elaine Reynolds

Senior HCM SAP/SuccessFactors Consultant

HCM: Looking for Leaders in Your Own Backyard (4 of 4)


passing the baton

Succession planning is a process, not a one-time strategy to check off the to-do-list. This blog series outlines key steps in the succession planning process.  To read the series from the beginning, click here.

  • Identify a pool of talent that can be used to make better staffing decisions for key positions

Having a strong talent pool is the end goal of the above steps. Talent pools of corporations are focused toward high potential and high performing individuals and they contain people ready for responsibilities.


Okay, now that the plan is in place, how do you avoid the pitfalls that can derail the best designed plan? Following are a couple of items that need to be thought out and implemented in order to be successful with the succession plan:

  1. One of the biggest issues is not getting buy in from the board of directors. The plan is neither about HR nor the CEO; it is about the well-being of the organization and the staff that makes up the company.  The board should establish a formal decree establishing the initiative, and continually review and make adjustments to the plan as the organization changes. The succession plan should be considered a living document, and boards can – and really should – play an important role in succession planning.
  2. Another way to show the organization is serious about its people is to make the initiative about all levels of staff. This will demonstrate the organization’s investment in their employee’s long-term success by providing them with the necessary tools and support to take their careers to the next level.
  3. Don’t forget to assess your internal candidates. The entire executive team should go through the assessment process first – ideally by an outside firm – so that you don’t single out favorites and start a destructive horse race. The next layer of management should also be assessed because you never know where hidden talent may be hiding.

These are not all the pitfalls that may be encountered. Based on your organization, there might be other obstacles that will need to be addressed.  However, do not stop there; continue to review, assess and tweak what you have in place because with globalization, workforce demographics and the continued advances in technology things are going to change….this is enviable.  Now, embrace change and seek the leaders of tomorrow.



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