The Importance of Performance Management in Succession Planning

Previously, we outlined the benefits of performance management and how to use it within your organization. Next, we can consider how your other long-term strategic goals in your succession planning process can be integrated with your performance management system.

As a complete development tool, performance management can help your employees grow and also increase their engagement at work. By integrating performance management into other company practices, you ensure your company’s policies and practices work together seamlessly. Consider succession planning. Succession planning is a future-focused strategic initiative that can help your company identify critical roles, build succession benches, and develop high-potential candidates for promotion. Combining this process with performance management can help you create a pool of qualified succession candidates and plan for your company’s future.

Regardless of your performance appraisal system, you’ll need to focus on employee growth and career development when beginning the succession planning process. We suggest using this as an opportunity to implement some of the performance management best practices in order to get the most out of your efforts. Performance management can be used in succession planning to:

1. Have Career-Planning Conversations

Before beginning any development efforts, it’s important for leaders to understand their employees’ career ambitions. Take the time to hold face-to-face meetings with each employee to get a sense of their plans and goals for the future. This will not only start you on the right foot for developmental conversations, but it will also help you identify those employees who have yet to consider their future with your company. Be sure to take the time to explore their options and interests before diving into skill development. Additionally, look for talented employees with no plans for their future with your company. This may be an indication that they are considering options outside your organization. Performance management can not only help you spot employees who may be flight risks but can also help you bring them back on board with opportunities to grow their skills and take on new responsibilities.

2. Prioritize Talent Development Opportunities

Once you understand the career ambitions of your employees, you can begin to plan out their talent development. Generally, you should prioritise the skills that both further the company’s goals and match the employee’s interests. First, when talking about succession planning, look at the success profile of the role you believe the employee is a candidate for. Next, identify their strengths and development areas with a succession candidate profile. Use this profile to start the conversation around skill development. The succession candidate profile is a great tool for determining talent development priorities and setting goals. Lastly, make sure to revisit these priorities as goals are achieved and priorities change.

3. Track Employee-Level Progress

The formal nature of performance management systems means there is often a paper trail of talent development. Goals are written down, roadblocks and successes noted, and assessments can be used to complement the process. Use these conversations and performance management indicators to track individual employee development. This information can be used when deciding who to promote once a succession role becomes available. This information also lends objective data to those decisions. Further, by tracking the effort and persistence of employees aiming to improve their skills, you can both identify highly motivated employees, and spot cases where employee engagement may be waning.

4. Evaluate Succession Planning Success

Beyond individual-level data, both succession planning and performance management give us a picture of employee success and motivation at a company level. Use the data gathered from individual sessions to find out how many employees are engaged in talent development efforts. Use their assessments of growth to determine the success of your development programs, and to spot areas where your company may need to devote more resources. Finally, use the Progress Scorecard to determine how performance management has helped your succession planning efforts to succeed. Look at performance management metrics, such as changes in percent of employees ready for promotion, or in amount of time taken to prepare a candidate for a succession candidate for a role.

At SIGMA, we want to help your company prepare for the future by creating a qualified pool of succession candidates. Our experienced consultants can help you integrate performance management into a simple succession planning process. Visit our Launch Series page to discover how we can deliver your personalized Succession Plan in just 30 days. We also offer long-term consulting services to help you navigate on-going succession planning functions, such as performance management. Contact us for more information on our succession planning offerings.

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.