Succession Planning for Remote Working Companies |

Many businesses are now working remotely but for many this may be the first time that they are working consistently in this way. Office based businesses have had to adjust and develop a hybrid workforce. Technological requirements aside, there are business processes which may have been forgotten about altogether. 

Succession planning is one of those areas that businesses may have taken for granted. In 2020, nearly 60% of the workforce took to working from home during the pandemic Compared to 5% beforehand. We are seeing businesses change their view on remote work which is why, building your succession plan for remote working has become essential. 

Being ready for any big changes before they happen is sound business sense. Today we will look at succession planning and why remote working companies need to plan for organisational change.

What is succession planning? 

According to Wikipedia, “succession planning is the process of identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die.” When done correctly, succession planning “increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available.” 

Businesses who have elderly senior figures or are going through dynamic change will experience a short fall of capabilities if not forward managed accordingly. Understanding those in your team who are ready to succeed leaves you and your organisation with an overall better grip of the situation and can manage the transition. 

Why it pays to have a long term strategy

We plan for things in our day-to-day life so why would we not have a plan for anyone in an organisation that is either planning to leave due to retirement/moving to another role elsewhere or, for unseen reasons such as death/injury? In short, it is always ideal to have a plan in place for your teams - whether in the office or working remotely. 

Succession planning relies on ‘a large pool of talented workers ranging from entry-level to senior leadership who are being prepared for key roles.’ It is about engaging with the employees that have the right skills, energy and leadership qualities that will benefit the company across the different roles, departments and levels of seniority. In short, you are not replacing staff, you are about cultivating a large selection of talent to come in and take the business forward. 

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For example, we can do succession planning across different industries and seniority levels. IBM hired Virginia Rometty from Samuel J. Palmisano when he retired in 2012. Rometty was the first female President of IBM but the succession took years to enable - and when it did, the transition was seamless. IBM put a plan together to ensure that business success would continue under new leadership from someone who had experience around the whole board and departments and creating a pathway that allowed someone with Rometty’s skills to thrive. 

Apple faced a similar situation when their visionary leader, Steve Jobs left due to ill health. Tim Cook took on a variety of different operational roles including manufacturing, distribution, sales, and supply chain management before working directly with Jobs to gain experience in the CEO role. Apple has gone on to record record years since his takeover. 

HR software can be used to identify the people best positioned to achieve in new roles. By identifying the roles which may need filling quickly by the best prepared staff or those that require training, you set your business up for successful succession planning.   

Roles that require succession planning

Succession planning is usually an area where senior management is concerned and in larger organisations which can experience turmoil if leaders in the business leave at a short notice or through unexpected losses. The more complex the organisational structure, the more that needs to be done to develop the talent pool to go around so leadership and management changes can be made at a moments notice. 

However, you should always be carefully planning for your teams and where any eventuality may arise. Roles that require succession planning include: 

  • COO 
  • CEO
  • CFO
  • Department heads
  • Territory managers 

Even if your teams are working remotely and you’re having to deal with new business challenges, being able to understand who can take control of your organisation is key. HR programs and identifying that stand out talent is essential to creating the pathway for succession. Think of what your business requirements are and how they can be fulfilled with an accurate succession plan. 

Remote succession planning with Thomas

Our assessments can guarantee that you have a pool of talent ready and waiting for advancement and promotion into new roles when they arise.

From exploring a person's personality traits to developing their strengths and areas for improvement, to identifying your employees behavioural and emotional preferences, we can help you identify those who will be ready to step into more senior roles.

If you would like to learn more about how our assessments can help you with succession planning, please speak to one of our team.