Companies not prepared to lose key personnel, says study
Survey says employee succession should be higher priority; Plus: five tips to help businesses enhance their succession planning
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The survey of 300 Canadian accounting and finance professionals shows 13 per cent of accounting and finance professionals reported there was someone internally who could easily step in to fill their role if they quit.
Nearly half said the company would need to hire an outside candidate to fill the position. That number goes up among the executive ranks, where 58 per cent say their companies would have to hire someone new to replace them.
“In the event of an unexpected departure, neglecting to have preemptively instated a succession plan can prove disruptive,” said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “Getting caught off-guard when an essential employee moves on, especially at the executive level, may mean an extended period of time searching for someone to replace them, leaving the company scrambling to effectively manage their responsibilities in the meantime.”
King encourages executives and business owners to be proactive about ensuring that each department has a plan in place. “Knowing that no team or project will be left unmanned means stability and peace of mind, and opens the company up to establishing a comprehensive organizational strategy based on a more concrete understanding of individual functions,” he said.
The company has five tips to help businesses enhance their succession planning:
- Start during the hiring process. In addition to the open position, think about the types of advanced roles job candidates could grow into over time. Also, gauge applicants’ interest in building a career with your firm and their leadership skills
- Take a wide view. Only looking at the top of the company for succession planning is a mistake. Instead, develop plans for all levels. In the process, you’ll identify up-and-comers aspiring to join the management ranks
- Check with employees. Talk to staff members about their goals, and identify specific steps they can take to reach their objectives. This is also motivational and can help with retention
- Bolster professional development. Building out succession plans will help you more easily identify skills gaps and the training needed to address them
- Communicate openly. Let staff know about your goal of preparing them for roles of increasing responsibility, making this a reward for their contributions. Explain the succession process—including what is expected of them and what they can expect from you — and provide prompt updates if there are changes along the way