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4 Questions to Ask for Successful Succession Planning

Jan 7, 2020 by Keith Boatright 3 Comments

Successful succession planning

At SRC Holdings, we see our succession management program as one of our most important strategic advantages. It is also one of our greatest challenges because our managers must not only be good at their jobs but also good at building and maintaining our culture.

Every year, we dive deeply into our workforce and employment data to evaluate ownership succession planning results while actively supporting the progress and alignment of our strategic workforce goals. During this process, the big objective is to complete detailed strategic workforce planning. The goals of this process can be achieved by answering four basic questions: 

1. Where Are We Going?

First, we strive to understand the big-picture vision for the company. Biannually, the sales and marketing team diligently research and project our five-year sales plan. These projections are based on the goals of the company and the realities of the marketplace. These projections are seen as a commitment rather than a lofty goal; they are not taken lightly.

2. What Will We Need to Get There (And How Are We Going to Get It)?

This detailed sales and marketing plan serves as a roadmap for all major units of the business. Specifically, the HR department overlays this five-year growth projection with its own employment projection chart, essentially allowing HR to proactively solve talent issues the company will face. With these needs now laid out, we then begin to assess any internal strengths and weaknesses that will affect our ability to acquire and retain talent.

Once we understand our overall needs and any challenges to meeting those needs, we begin to drill down and succinctly identify key talent needs for the next five years.

3. Who Do We Have Now?

Now that we have a good understanding of our five-year needs, we go into an in-depth analysis of the human capital we currently have to meet those needs and determine how we can grow our current talent to support the sales plan.

We do this by keeping meticulous records of workforce demographics and developing annual action charts. These charts help us track our retention rate, hires, promotions, and terminations.

4. What Are Our Talent Gaps?

Through reviewing what we have now, we are quickly able to assess our current talent gaps and outline strategies to close them. We strive to keep a focus on our internal education, exposure, and training for current employees to ensure we align with our growth trend and are helping our employees capitalize on training opportunities such as tuition reimbursement.

A substantial focus of business succession planning is thorough internal development. We believe the best people to fill positions are people already immersed in the SRC culture.

While we pride ourselves on having great employees who are always willing to learn and grow, we have to be aware of our own weaknesses and temper those by hiring employees whose strengths, weaknesses, and experience complements one another.

With this in mind, we review our current recruitment efforts to be sure we have a solid pipeline of prospects in the event that we cannot fill a position internally.

These exercises help us to clearly and succinctly evaluate our readiness to achieve our plan. These four steps, paired with a strong vision and strategy for your company, will help you ensure the company keeps a keen focus on your next generation of leaders.

Final Considerations for Succession Planning 

It's not all about the money. The compensation package isn't the end all be all when it comes to the long-term retention of a new employee. Be sure to take a good hard look at your workforce culture and benefits package (on the whole). 

This article was adapted & reprinted with permission from the publication Leadership Development and Succession (, published by the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

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Written by Keith Boatright
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Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.