Is your organization well prepared for the moment a senior staff member leaves the business?
If you haven’t planned for this in advance, you could find the succession planning process challenging.
62 percent of employees would be more engaged at work with a succession plan in place in their organization, according to a LinkedIn statistic. It can be difficult to create a strategy, but one of the best ways to make succession planning easier is to use top skills testing platforms.
This article covers the key facts on succession planning and how to use our skills testing platform, TestGorilla, to help with this.
What is succession planning?
Succession planning means ensuring you keep talent in the pipeline, as described by SHRM. The process involves preparing for situations where an employee unexpectedly decides to leave. It also means making sure your talent is prepared for filling the position of the staff member who has left.
Contrary to what many HR departments believe, succession planning doesn’t always have to be complicated. But it does require a lot of thought and careful planning. Hiring managers should know which skills are needed for the role and who is the most suited in terms of their skills.
Not only should recruiters identify the required skills, but you will also need to train candidates during the succession planning process.
For the purposes of training, a candidate will typically go through a shadowing process, which is a key part of succession planning. It enables the candidate to fully understand how the role is performed.
If an internal candidate suits the role, hiring managers might be able to recruit internally. This is a win-win situation for succession planning, and large companies are constantly keeping an eye on internal hiring and promotion opportunities in anticipation of changes in leadership.
But remember that every business can benefit from a solid succession planning strategy, regardless of its size or hierarchical structure.
How important is succession planning in an organization?
The short answer is succession planning is very important. It makes the handover process faster and more efficient, which helps keep your teams’ productivity consistently high.
What’s more, with succession planning you will even reduce your cost per hire by managing recruitment in-house. This is especially true for temporary absences: as there is a higher turnover in these roles you will be recruiting for these positions more frequently. This can potentially lead to higher recruiting costs, but using succession planning can help reduce them.
Succession planning is important for candidates as well. When placed in the ideal role, they should be adequately challenged and have room to grow, after receiving sufficient support and training during the onboarding period. Their skills should suit the position, but they should also be prepared to advance, and succession planning helps match them to the role.
58 percent of business owners do not have a succession planning strategy in place, according to The Motley Fool. It is the largest danger to their companies. This proves how important succession planning for the hiring process is.
How do you plan for succession effectively?
You’ll need to consider different factors when planning for succession. In addition to pinpointing the different roles in your business, and completing job analyses, here are two of the important steps for succession planning.
1. Assess your organization’s succession needs
First, start with assessing your organization’s succession needs. This involves monitoring and evaluating various factors. For this, you’ll need to:
- Track retention rates
- Monitor turnover rates
- Keep an eye on recruitment stats, such as cost-per-hire and time-to-hire
- Monitor in-house succession and external candidate succession
- Address diversity and inclusion when planning for succession
Monitoring these factors will help hiring managers plan in advance and be able to appoint the best candidate or employee. It will also make it easier to optimize the recruitment process and save on recruitment costs.
2. Recognize the importance of continuity
Then, you need to recognize how important continuity is for succession. The reason for this, according to Forbes, is that succession becomes easier and more actionable when companies aim for continuity.
To achieve continuity, succession planning should consider the whole structure of the organization. In addition to that, you need to do the following:
- Evaluate the impending knock-on effect that the departure of a team member could have
- Review potential successors in line with your, and those of your employees, requirements, and needs
- Offer training and development opportunities
- Assess the potential of hiring successors internally
What else can you do to build a successful succession planning strategy?
Besides assessing the needs of your company and recognizing the importance of continuity for succession planning, you should also:
- Conduct a job analysis and evaluate leadership positions
- Consider whether you want to hire internally or externally, and
- Regularly assess newly appointed candidates who have replaced senior staff.
The last step, evaluating your chosen candidate or employee, is particularly important. Evaluations will help you put in place the right training if your candidate is lacking certain skills.
What should you avoid in succession planning?
Your job is not complete yet, though! There are two main factors hiring managers should try to avoid when planning for succession.
1. Selecting a candidate who isn’t suitable in the long term
If you select an employee or candidate who isn’t suitable in the long term, this might turn out to be a costly mistake. Your business is likely to grow and change, and the successor you choose should have the skills to handle these changes and grow with your organization.
For this reason, you might want to assess their skills—both hard and soft skills—to see if they are suitable long term. Continue reading to discover the best way to assess skills for a succession plan.
2. Limiting your succession plan to only one successor
Your succession plan should not rely solely on one successor. Though there are a few organizations that believe their job is finished after they have found one candidate, they can encounter problems with this approach.
With 70 percent of workers actively looking for new jobs, as stated by Inc, it might be the case that the successor you’ve chosen has plans to apply for a different role. Or they might be considering early retirement, or want to join a different department of your organization.
For each of these reasons, make sure you put together a wide pool of potential successors and choose a few candidates for each role. This will help you select from various candidates if your first choice leaves the organization.
How can skills testing help you choose the best person for succession planning?
Selecting candidates who have the right skills for the role is critical during succession planning, and skills testing can help you assess the skills of each applicant to make the right choice for the successor position.
You might start by analyzing resumes, but here’s how skills testing platforms such as TestGorilla can help.
1. Assess how receptive candidates are to training
Acquiring new skills and abilities is essential for successors, which means they should be receptive to training. You can find out how they process information and learn by using our cognitive ability tests.
Those tests can give you an indication of how responsive your candidates are to training: the higher their scores, the better they will be at learning new skills.
2. Understand your candidates’ leadership skills
Most succession planning is conducted specifically for leadership positions. With this in mind, knowing more about your candidates’ leadership qualities will help you plan. And the ideal way to understand their leadership skills is with the right skills assessment test, for example, TestGorilla’s leadership and people management test.
3. Evaluate how they are performing in the role
You’ll then need to implement testing to evaluate how your successor is performing on the job. A skills test will highlight the skills your chosen candidate is lacking and show the areas where they need to improve. You can use this information to tailor training and onboarding to their specific needs, and also compare future assessments’ results to see how they’re growing in the role.
How can you use TestGorilla for successful succession planning?
The TestGorilla platform is ideal for planning towards succession: аs well as combating biased decision-making when selecting candidates, it also makes the process faster.
Here’s how you can use it for succession planning:
1. Choose skills tests that are created by experts
The first step is selecting the right assessments to conduct a comprehensive evaluation. You can choose tests from a number of categories, such as:
Select the skills tests that assess the skills you would like to analyze. If you are hiring for a senior leadership role, for example, you might select a leadership & people management test, together with assessments on business ethics and compliance, and business judgment.
All of TestGorilla’s skills tests have been created by subject matter experts. Even if you’re not an expert yourself, you can test your candidates in any area, including leadership, and receive reliable results.
2. Receive and compare the results
If you are unsure which successor to select, TestGorilla lets you compare the test results of all candidates. You can select from grouped or individual comparative options. A grouped comparison will let you compare your candidates’ results, whereas the individual option will let you compare all test results for one candidate.
3. Assess candidates’ future performance potential and choose the right successor
Getting a precise understanding of a candidate’s skills will allow you to look ahead and see how they will fit into the role.
This is possible with TestGorilla, as you can use the results to see how they could develop in the future. You can then choose the right candidate for the position and track their progress in the future by using skills tests.
Use TestGorilla to assist you in making succession plans
Succession planning can be challenging, but you can greatly simplify the whole process with the help of skills testing. Make sure you:
- Assess your organization’s requirements
- Choose from a wide candidate pool, and
- Analyze the skills of your candidates
With TestGorilla, you’ll find the entire succession planning process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.