Tips for a succession planning roadmap that really works
As I’ve pointed out in a previous blog , your succession planning roadmap has to be more than just a list of names kept on file somewhere. In fact, as maps go, it has to be more like the latest whizzbang update of Citymapper than some dusty old manual you chuck in the glove compartment. Here are my top tips for creating a healthy succession planning roadmap.
Keep the roadmap live
Make sure your succession planning roadmap is dynamically linked to and informed by other relevant areas of the business – most importantly, the logged results of staff training, development and performance reviews. If someone starts to shine in an area not previously identified as their strong suit, that should feed in to the roadmap, especially if the area this person’s doing well in makes them leadership material.
Rethink the role of job specs
Why are job specs generally only circulated when that job is being advertised? Your company’s vision for what is entailed by each and every role in the company should be public knowledge, available to all in the company (and arguably to the external world, too). And when I say “what is entailed”, I don’t just mean nuts and bolts – by the time the role is available, the nuts-and-bolts requirements may have changed. The job spec should include qualities, aptitudes and character traits that your company believes the person in that role should have. This encourages aspirational thinking in the workforce – junior staff can look at a senior role and know that, while they fall down in, say, experience or specific skills, they do have some of those natural traits the role requires – and that encourages ambition.
Introduce the roadmap at recruitment stage
This is a tweak on the old ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ interview question. When assessing candidates for a role – however junior – it’s worth speaking to them about where this particular role could take them. Tell them what other people in this role have gone on to do. Ask whether they have a more senior position they’re aiming for. If so, add that to the roadmap documentation.