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We’re nearing the end of the year.

Naturally, this has us in planning mode. As business owners, we know the October-December months mean more than just holiday season: It means planning for the next year.

Since we’ve got planning on our minds, we’d love to talk to you about succession planning.

Every company (big or small) needs to have a succession plan in place. A solid succession plan can assist with business continuity, tap the potential for intellectual capital in the organization & improve employee morale, among other benefits.

Interested? We thought so.

So let’s talk some more about what succession planning is.

What is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is the act of managing key personnel transitions for maximum continuity of operations, retention of “institutional knowledge,” and minimum disruption.

Okay, that’s a lot of business talk. Basically, it means identifying internal employees with the potential to fill leadership positions and helping them along that path. This makes for a smoother transition when the leadership change happens.

Adopting a succession plan strategy allows organizations to identify critical jobs, potential successors and skills gaps while providing employees with insight into available career goals. This benefits employees, management and the organization as a whole. (That’s a win-win-win!)

So how do you go about adopting such a strategy?

We’re glad you asked. We’ve prepared an easy checklist to help you get started.

Integrity HR’s Succession Plan Implementation Checklist:

  1. Have a plan. Before planning the succession of key personnel, you need to know where you want to go. Define your company’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives.
  2. Evaluate your current situation. See that your current business processes and organizational focus are aligned with your vision and plan. But remember to stay flexible and plan for change!
  3. Identify key positions. Prepare a list of all the positions for which succession plans are necessary or helpful. For each key position develop lists of skills & abilities, required knowledge, and attitudes. These lists will help your narrow down your internal talent pool in the next step.
  4. Identify internal talent. Assess your internal talent pool first and identify your high-potential employees. Look at the history of your hires and promotions and see if you can identify natural career development paths. Can you alter the structure to create paths?
  5. Document! Document! Document! Documentation of policy, procedures, plans, activities, etc. is the best way to capture and preserve the “institutional knowledge” that will be lost when key people depart. Make documents and procedures available to the people who replace those who depart.

There you have it! What do you think? Seems pretty doable, right?

Take this checklist & add succession planning to your end-of-year planning activities. You’re already thinking ahead, after all.

Budgets are tight. What are you doing to help your bottom line?
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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.