Succession Planning in Small Companies

In our talent management work with clients, a question we often hear following a talent review process is, “What happens if we don’t have any successors for a given position in our company?

In small to mid-size companies, it is quite common to have several key positions without successors who are ready to step into a role. There are few layers in the company so having stretch assignments to develop into the “next level” can be difficult. If you have some positions without successors, ask various questions:

• What would happen if this position was vacated tomorrow? What risk would that pose for the company?
• How does someone go about developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities to get ready for the particular role in question?
• Who is in a position to begin to learn some of these skills (e.g., stretch assignments, participation in various meetings, etc.)?
• If we don’t have someone internally who can step into the position, how might we fulfill our needs should the position become vacant?

By first asking these questions and second engaging the leadership team in a dialogue to begin to provide answers, a company will be better prepared to address their future talent needs.

Related Articles: Grow Your Talent Pool; Talent Review Discussion Template

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