Your “Other” Succession Plan

By Dan Simmons

Baby Boomers are beginning to retire and succession plans are more important than ever. Succession plans typically focus on the leadership of the company. However, these plans tend to ignore supervisors and managers, along with the rest of their near-retirement workforce.

Do you have a plan for them?

Let’s focus on the “A” performers. You know – the people who are always there and just get the job done. Who is going to replace them? Many companies tend to overlook this issue, often waiting until the last minute to address it.

Consider these three basic steps:

  • IDENTIFY:  Establish your criteria for valued employees and then select those within the company who fall into that category. Ideally, you will want to identify those who are at least a year (or more) from retirement.
  • SPECIFY:  Update job descriptions. What they’ve been doing has probably changed over the years. Determine what you want to focus on. How do we extract the amount of company history, proprietary information, and skills and abilities they have mastered that allow them to make their contributions look so effortless? It will be important to not just replace these people, but to transition a new employee into the position to learn both the day-to-day procedures and also how the company has grown and evolved.
  • COMMUNICATE:  Talk with them.  You want to learn their plans for retirement.  This needs to be done in a cordial and non-threatening manner in the spirit of recognition and appreciation.  Long-time employees have a loyalty to the company that will make it easier for you to explain why an effective transition plan is important. They will likely help you to manage this transition process.

There are two likely scenarios.

Scenario One: Yes, they are going to retire and they have a definite date in mind, as well as a definite plan.

Once you have noted that date, then subtract the amount of time you determined would be necessary for the effective transition. Ask if they have any ideas on how this transition should go.  Next, identify the person who will be taking their place. An internal candidate would be ideal; however, if a search for a person is involved, you need to also allow time for that process.

The goal is to have the replacement person identified and in place, allowing the required time for an effective transition. Techniques used in the actual transition are similar to a traditional succession plan, such as job shadowing, job sharing, and mentoring, but with the additional focus on getting as much information from the near-retirement employee as possible before they leave.

Scenario Two: The employee is unsure of their plans. This is a productive employee you would like to keep on in some capacity. They might consider consulting with the company or even working part time. This will ease their mind and allow them to firm up their actual plans for retirement. It also provides the company additional time to identify their replacement and transition that person into the position.

Whatever you do in either of these scenarios or the ones you may encounter, don’t wait until the last minute to act. Nothing is worse than not having a gaping hole in your organizational structure that could have been easily transitioned with a little pre-planning.

Do you need help finding the right candidate for a position that is transitioning? Contact Dan Simmons today!

Dan Simmons Bio

Dan SimmonsDaniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.

Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.

Is Your Company Looking for Great Candidates? Contact Dan Today!

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One Response to Your “Other” Succession Plan

  1. CharlieWood July 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Dan’s
    planning recommendations are on target! Without a plan many managers promote a
    top performer to a position that is a poor job match.

    A
    comprehensive succession plan includes having detailed knowledge of the personality,
    motivational interest and cognitive attributes of the top performers in your
    jobs. The plan will also include knowing the attributes of internal candiates. A
    good succession plan  will consider both the
    best career path for your existing employees and the requirements of your jobs.
    Such in-depth knowledge of staff puts you in a position to  explain best job match and  career path expectations to employees who may
    be disappointed at not getting a job. 

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