Leaving the Organization? The Best Leaders Have a Succession Plan in Place

Kristina Finseth

“I don’t know what they will do when I am gone.”

“Who will take care of this if I ever leave the organization?”

“Is there someone capable enough to fill my shoes?”

 

Unfortunately, these are questions many HR leaders ask themselves when contemplating a new opportunity outside of their current organization. For some, they are the sole subject matter expert. For others, they hold onto responsibilities rather than delegating to those who can help.

 

According to a recent survey by Salveson Stetson Group, a leading healthcare and life sciences focused search firm, 50 percent of HR leaders say there is no succession plan in place if they were to leave their current organization today. Of course, if there’s no one capable of taking their place, the organization is the one that gets hurt.

 

If you’re a leader in HR (or any other department, for that matter), you should always have a succession plan in place. Even if you have no immediate plans for leaving, the best HR leaders are the ones who plan their departure.

 

Here are three ways to ensure your organization will be successful with or without you.

 

1. Identify the Strongest Player on Your Team

Is there a person on your team who is the logical next-in-line-pick if and when you part ways from your organization?

 

This person may not always exist within your organization, and that’s okay. Just like you should continuously add content to your resume, be sure to keep a record of the skills and experience needed for an external candidate to be successful filling your shoes.

 

If this person does exist within your organization, identify them. But, don’t just stop there.

 

2. Mentor and Develop Them

Now, it’s important to take proactive steps to develop and mentor them accordingly. This has to happen for multiple reasons. One, it shows the employee how much the organization values them. Two, you have the opportunity to create a succession plan that pinpoints the skills and experience needed for the employee to be prepared to fill your shoes if and when the time comes.

 

Last, you are able to keep key employees engaged and retained by creating visible internal mobility opportunities within the organization.

 

3. Delegate and Get Out of the Way

Some of the best leaders and key employees feel like their responsibilities define their success within the organization. As a result, they don’t want to let others help or take on tasks that they would otherwise do themselves.

 

It sounds harsh, but great leaders have the ability to delegate responsibilities to others. In turn, they also know when to get out of the way and let employees shine and be successful. By delegating responsibilities to others, it will eliminate the “I’m-the-only-one-who-can-do-this” situations that happen in every organization.

 

Keep in mind that 61 percent of HR leaders surveyed say they would leave their organization for the right opportunity. Although you may not have foreseeable plans to leave your organization, given this statistic, it’s clear how important it is to create a succession plan. In turn, you’ll leave your organization on a high note when the time comes.