What is succession plan? Everything you need to know to plan careers


What is succession plan

Is your company already working with a career succession plan? By the way, do you know how important it is to think about the permanence of positions in your business — especially nowadays?

Succession plan is an alternative developed by companies to map and develop potential corporate leaders, ensuring that the transition of positions occurs smoothly. In the sales market, in particular, being able to make transitions in a natural way is essential to ensure the progress of processes and continuity of results.

In the so-called VUCA World, volatility is one of the watchwords. Therefore, the trend is that, each year, the length of stay in the same position decreases due to the constant emergence of new work opportunities and new life perspectives.

To give you an idea, this study, by Equilar, shows that the length of time that CEOs remain in their positions fell from 6 years in 2013 to 5 years in 2017. In addition, the number of bosses who have been in office for many years has been decreasing. The survey shows that only 6.3% of CEOs have held their positions for more than 20 years. On the other hand, 38.1% have been in the position for a period between 1 and 5 years. 

Do you understand how important it is to think about a management succession plan? Continue reading this article to understand which positions are most targeted by the plan and which golden tips for creating effective planning for career transitions in sales.

What is succession plan? 

A succession plan is a strategy developed to ensure that job transitions (in particular, positions of command) occur smoothly in companies. For this, a kind of internal “talent bank” is created, made up of professionals whose potential would meet the demands of the position in question.

From the moment they are listed, professionals begin to be prepared for an eventual promotion. This preparation takes place through behavioral training and a competency development and assessment program.

It is worth remembering, of course, that eventually the succession plan does not only involve internal candidates, but also leaders who are in the market and who may have the potential to assume the positions in question. However, most of the time, this selection prioritizes the talents that are already part of the organization.

Succession plan x job and salary plan 

You may be wondering: what is the similarity between the succession plan and the job and salary plan? Are we talking about the same thing?

The answer is no. Despite dealing with the development of employees within an organization, the two strategies are aimed at different moments in their careers.

While the career plan is a process common to all company employees, the succession plan is specific and directed at a certain type of employee: those with a manager profile. In practice, it works something like this:

  • The career plan is the journey taken by all employees when entering the company. Their professional achievements and skills are reflected in promotions that lead them to higher positions in the organization’s hierarchy;
  • Succession plan is aimed at employees with leadership potential. They are identified by leaders, together with HR, and are then developed to occupy managerial positions.

Succession plan management 

Did you see that, in the topic above, we mentioned HR and leadership as responsible for the succession plan? So it is! When it comes to electing potential leaders, the role of current managers is essential in the process.

In addition to having a privileged view of the sectors and the company as a whole, they are the best figures to develop, educate and transmit experience to their potential successors.

Why should your company have a succession plan?  

Having a succession plan is beneficial to the company for several reasons. In addition to the fluidity mentioned above, an organization that invests in training future leaders gains in:

  • Contingency of possible productivity crises;
  • Maintenance of results and sales targets, even in the midst of structural changes;
  • Possibility of training professionals with the hard skills (operational skills) and soft skills (personal skills) appropriate to the position;
  • Creation of a culture of valuing employees;
  • Opportunities for the development of several employees of the company, regardless of hierarchical level occupied;
  • Savings for the company (with the development of employees who are already in the organization, instead of hiring a professional from the market).

How to make a succession plan?  

In general, a job succession plan is made with the sum of three fundamental steps: identification of expectations, mapping of critical positions and potential successors, and training and decision of the listed professionals.

However, it is important that each of the stages is carefully taken care of, with the support of HR to manage any situations of evasion and turnover in the succession process.

Here are some tips for making an excellent management succession plan.

Phase 1: expectations mapping

The first phase of building the succession plan is dedicated to planning and mapping expectations. At this time, meetings are held with the board, the organization’s administrative board and the team responsible for the process.

This is the time for definitions like:

  • Desired profile for leadership;
  • Board expectations;
  • Strategic alignment between the team involved;
  • Design of the phases of the succession plan.

Phase 2: identification of critical positions and potential successors 

In the second stage of preparing the succession plan, the critical positions that should be prioritized by the transition committee are identified. As critical positions, we understand those that will undergo changes in a short period of time or that require very specific professional profiles, which makes them difficult to fill.

In addition, at this stage, leaders and HR begin to list potential successors for the vacancies, paying attention to the skills that each employee already has (for this, it is important that the company keeps the performance evaluations up to date) and those that he is able to develop.

How to identify potential successors? 

Some tips for listing outstanding employees for the succession plan are:

  • Use performance evaluation tools as bases;
  • Take into account feedback routines and conversations between the employee and the leader;
  • Monitor employees who stand out in continuous improvement projects or company events;
  • Monitor engagement and motivation rates;
  • Monitor the achievement of industry goals.

Phase 3: Training and decision 

The final phase of the succession plan can be broken down into smaller steps. Its objective is to put into practice the training and development of future leaders, leaving them ready for the moment of decision.

This happens as follows:

  1. The listed professionals undergo specific assessments that help to understand how adherent they are to the positions in question;
  2. The assessments are analyzed by the HR team in partnership with the current leadership;
  3. Selected and evaluated professionals are divided according to their profiles and directed to the vacancies with which they are more in tune;
  4. An action plan is drawn up to improve the professionals in each group according to the position they can occupy;
  5. The qualification process is started, with the help of mentoring, training, and consulting and updates on the responsibilities and duties of each leader.

Knowing how to create a sales succession plan is a golden opportunity to keep your team’s performance high and prevent any transition crises. In addition, it helps to motivate and value the team, which starts working with a focus on high performance.

Do you know what else can help your team become a high performance sales team? Our free e-book with golden tips for an accurate sales process!

And the tips don’t stop there! To help build a coherent succession plan focused on the most important skills of a sales leader, we have one more tip! This free e-book teaches you all about being a good sales team leader and manager.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,