Hiring for Succession Planning

Hiring Practices to Compliment Succession Planning

It can be easy to see the need for succession planning for engagement and high performance in critical positions and for retaining top talent. However, to achieve these objectives, succession planning must be closely aligned with all functions of a company. For most companies, few processes can enhance the value of succession planning more than its integration into hiring practices.

Hiring practices that directly consider succession planning are crucial to creating an essential part of a good succession plan: a pool of high-potential candidates. This pool is also called the succession bench. When it comes time to choose a successor for an important role, you not only have highly qualified candidates, you also have choices. A strong bench allows you to choose a succession candidate who meets all your requirements and complements your existing team. On the other hand, a weak succession bench highlights the areas of need for succession planning in your company.

Including succession planning in hiring doesn’t mean weakening or compromising your current hiring processes. In fact, it can benefit the company in various ways. For example, succession planning provides clearly defined criteria for selecting a succession candidate, which helps protect the company when defending its hiring decisions. It also gives decision-makers more valuable information to make the right choice between applicants.

Video Transcription

Having a robust succession plan in place and thinking about how you can integrate this process with other functions in our organization. It may be easy to see how succession ties into some areas such as employee development or performance appraisals but one area that often gets overlooked is selection. As we have discussed in a previous video even those organizations with a strong succession plan will occasionally need to hire externally. When you do it is important to consider how you can align in hiring practices with your succession plan to get the most out of both processes.

When you are thinking of hiring externally always be sure to consult your succession bench first. Ask yourself is there anyone in the organization who could fill the vacant role, if not, why? Review their candidate profile to see what is missing. Doing so early in the selection process will allow you to identify what exactly it is that you need to hire for. Next, review the success profile for the role you are looking to fill. Be sure to reference those competencies that you have identified as important for the role in your recruitment materials.

Next, make sure that you are hiring for the skills that will be important for success in the role. Consider how you can evaluate all applicants on the standard set of criteria. For example, you can create structured interview questions to assess each competency. Not only will just make it easier for you to compare candidates but it adds a level of transparency and objectivity to your hiring process.

Last, consider how you can use your succession plan as an advertisement for recruitment. By communicating your organization’s succession plan to applicants, you are telling them that the company supports professional development. This means their efforts are likely to be rewarded and there are opportunities for growth. With this one step, you can make your organization a more appealing option for job seekers and help to ensure that you only attract applicants who are invested in their own growth. This can help you to build a more motivated and engaged workforce.

At Sigma we have created the succession foundations program which helps to integrate succession planning with other HR functions, such as conducting structured interviews when hiring, providing role clarity, and standardizing performance appraisals. The foundation’s program helps our clients to make the most of their succession plans. To learn more about how these solutions can benefit your organization visit us at sigmasuccession.com or contact us today.

How to Get Started Integrating Succession Planning into Hiring

Merging succession planning with hiring can feel like a daunting task. Companies often have long-standing hiring procedures that might not seem easy to change. However, aligning employee selection and succession planning doesn’t require that you overhaul hiring. Instead, considering succession provides an opportunity to adjust the employee selection process that can improve the quality of hiring decisions. Some of the easiest ways to include succession in your hiring process include:

1: Taking Stock of the Key Roles in Your Organization

To hire for succession, an overall understanding of the key positions in an organization is a must. We recommend starting the process by first identifying critical roles in your company. Think beyond your executive team to those employees with all the institutional knowledge or highly specialized skills. Next, try to understand what it is that makes these incumbents so successful in their job. Our approach to creating success profiles can provide you with a deeper understanding of what it takes to be effective at a given role. Plan to select external candidates for those traits that indicate success.

2: Clarifying the Importance of Succession Planning

The best way to highlight your company’s commitment to succession planning is through action. For instance, communicate to recruiters, decision-makers, and others involved in the hiring process that succession is a key component of its system. Make it clear that these processes are two pieces of a larger puzzle, rather than serving two separate functions. Explain how you use succession. Finally, stress the importance of considering the competencies, experiences, and skills included in your success profile as part of the hiring process.

3: Being Transparent with Potential Hires

Be open in discussing succession with potential hires. Telling candidates that the hiring criteria for a position includes consideration for succession can significantly impact the quality of your succession candidate pool in the following ways:

  1. The best external candidates, likely in high demand, might be more interested if they know that you take advancement opportunities seriously. Integrating succession planning into hiring communicates that there is an established process for advancement, and it helps potential hires visualize their trajectory within the organization.
  2. Talking about succession during hiring also establishes a better foundation for the relationship between the company and the potential hire by clarifying both parties’ intentions. Communicating that the organization is hiring for a position with succession in mind gives you a sense of a candidate’s interest in advancement. Not every candidate aspires to more involved roles. Consequently, it can be costly to misidentify individuals as candidates for succession when they would not want the position. An external candidate who is not interested in further advancement could still be a valuable addition to an organization. However, it’s important to know which employees to consider as part of the internal succession candidate pool for a key role.

How SIGMA Can Help You Integrate Hiring with Succession Planning

At SIGMA, we want to help your company get the most out of succession planning. Our Succession Planning Launch Series will deliver your company a personalized succession plan in just 30 DAYS with only 8 hours of time from your senior leadership team. We also offer long-term consulting to help you integrate succession planning into your company’s policies and procedures. For more information on our Succession Process, Launch Series, or Succession Planning solutions, contact us and learn more about how we can help your organization reach its maximum potential.

About the Author

Sharon Van Duynhoven

Office Manager

Sharon brings our tests and assessments from the development stage to marketable product. She ensures quality control at every step of a project, edits technical documents and manuals, and artistically enhances reports and resources. She also manages contracts with clients across the globe and answers technical questions.