How Do Recruiting and Succession Strategy Fit Together?

By Staff Report

Feb. 24, 2015

Dear We Have Needs:

A successful succession strategy should be deeply interconnected with ongoing recruitment practices. Having the right people in place, from the top down, is critical to ensuring a seamless, streamlined transition when necessary. Additionally, from a recruitment perspective, good candidates often look at the job trajectory of the more senior executives. When it’s clear that a company frequently promotes from within, candidates are able to visualize their career growth, an added value tied to the position on the table. It also means that companies are more likely to secure top talent.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the connection between recruitment and succession planning. At its core, succession planning is simply filling a vacant position with the right person. To ease these transitions, companies often look to promote from within — there’s an organizational familiarity, client or workload overlap, etc., which makes a shift less challenging for all involved. As a result, when companies are seeking to fill a position — in fact, any position —they must look ahead, investing in hires that will be able to support the future growth of the organization, even as they mature within the company.

It’s important that companies make this connection between recruitment and succession. When discussing a client’s needs, we always ask if they have established a succession plan. About half the time, companies don’t have a plan in place, nor have they explored developing a formal strategy. Additionally, for those with a succession plan in place, the companies often lack specific benchmarks or goals indicating how employees can progress within the organization. Because most job seekers prioritize career growth, it’s crucial for companies to present a clear and consistent message about where the role will lead in three, five or 10 years down the road. It also ensures a company has a comprehensive succession plan that will help guide the company, securing a sound future. 

Being able to visualize that future is equally important to the candidate as it is for the company. Candidates are looking for opportunities at companies that provide a clear path for upward mobility and growth, and it’s a recruiter’s job to ensure the candidate’s goals align with a company’s succession plan. For example, if a company has a number of senior executives who are Boomers, they should expect to fill those positions in the next few years as these executives begin to retire. Therefore, in recruiting for mid-management positions, companies should be looking three to five years down the line, hiring candidates that will be able to step into these more senior roles when the time comes.

Ultimately, succession planning decreases the room for error when selecting a candidate and helps companies and employees both feel more secure in their shared future. How that succession strategy develops, however, varies vastly between organizations — some focus on key positions like the C-suite, while others seek a plan for the entire organization. If you’re an organization that allows employees to move between departments or roles, you’ll need universal succession plan in place. Remember, a succession strategy that aligns with recruitment goals translates into a company and employees that are co-invested in a successful future. In planning your next hire, don’t be afraid to think big and look ahead.

SOURCE: Scott Hopkins, founder, CVPartners, San Francisco, division of Addison Group, Jan. 30, 2015.

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