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Role of HR in Succession Planning

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  • 0:03 HR Role in Succession Planning
  • 0:41 What Is Succession Planning?
  • 1:25 Components of a…
  • 2:38 Developing Future Leaders
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Noel Ransom

Noel has taught college Accounting and a host of other related topics and has a dual Master's Degree in Accounting/Finance. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.

This lesson reviews how human resource managers can create succession plans within an organization. The lesson also explains how human resource managers promote the development of future leaders within an organization.

HR Role in Succession Planning

All organizations depend on staff to carry out the missions, goals and strategic objectives of the business. And some organizations depend on highly skilled staff members or key employees to carry out the most critical tasks. Yet, many organizational leaders do not have a plan in place in case one of their key employees leaves the company.

Kyle is a human resource manager who reviews executive staffing levels every quarter for his company. Kyle discovers there are three top executives who are critical to the organization and have indicated a desire to retire within a few years. What does this mean for Kyle's organization? What will happen if all three executives leave the company at the same time?

What Is Succession Planning?

Kyle needs to develop a succession plan to address the potential retirement of his most senior staff members. A succession plan is a process where an organization, most likely through its human resources department, identifies the actions its need to take to address changes that could occur when top leaders leave the company. A succession plan focuses on the most senior leaders of the company and addresses how the company should respond when they exit, including identifying a method to replace the senior staff member with an equally qualified replacement.

Senior staff members hold key positions that are most critical to an organization's operations. And because the senior staff also possesses a highly unique skill set, it can be difficult to replace them quickly with people who are equally qualified.

Components of a Succession Plan

Kyle is worried about being able to replace all three executives. Even if they do not decide to leave the company right away, Kyle realizes he must develop a succession plan to address how the organization will handle the loss of any senior staff member in the future. Kyle knows his organization has highly skilled employees who haven't reached the executive level. He begins to research how to keep developing their skills so the company can promote the most qualified employees to the next level in their career.

Kyle will need to include some basic components in his plan. First, all organizations should assess current and future staffing levels and compare their current staff to the kind of staff they'll need to meet their strategic goals and objectives. The plan should include how the organization will identify future leaders, as well as how it will groom the next senior leader to take on his new responsibilities shortly after promotion.

The succession plan should also include a step-by-step process for coaching and mentorship in targeted areas for the particular job function. And it should address current development opportunities for the potential successor, even before a position is granted, so the candidate can begin the training process in advance. Finally, the plan should have a communication strategy to outline how the organization will announce the change in senior leadership.

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