Succession Planning During a Pandemic

Maintaining a pipeline of talent for the C-Suite and key leadership roles. That is often what comes to mind when we think of Succession Planning.   

Traditionally, Succession Planning is a formal process geared for the long view.  The process can include months of pre-selection preparation and equally lengthy periods of staff development. 

However, staffing during the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced many organizations, both large and small, to rapidly adopt a succession planning mindset in real-time and on-the-go; often to simply keep operations running.  Many Succession Planning steps are being scaled and adapted for use company-wide in all size organizations to help fill urgent and unexpected staffing needs.

Consider these steps for a succession planning mindset:

  • Assess the skills and abilities that you see your organization needing now and moving into the post-pandemic workplace.
  • Assess your employee’s experiences and skills against the present and future needs of the business. Identify the employees who possess the willingness and interest in developing those needed skills.  
  • Look at your job descriptions. Do the descriptions accurately capture the knowledge and qualifications that are needed in the current workplace and for the future? 
  • Develop a continuing program of staff development company-wide. Incentivize gaining additional skills and the ability to cross-work in flexible workspaces into your staffing program.   
  • Clearly communicate to employees the new skill sets that are needed and the corresponding career opportunities.   

Think of how rapidly, out of necessity, we become knowledgeable with unfamiliar technologies and video conferencing to do our work in a remote workplace. We had to make the unfamiliar work for ourselves, our coworkers, and our families. That same necessity is broadening the use of succession planning into the areas of recruiting, development and retention for roles outside of the C-Suite and into all roles across the workplace.