Recruiting with Succession Planning in Mind

by Kelsey McGoldrick on in Blog, Succession Planning

What makes your company successful? While there are many factors at play, the element that most determines whether or not you reach your business goals is the quality of your leadership.

The efficient hiring of executives, managers, and directors who can fulfill leadership positions requires a pipeline of candidates obtained through proactive recruiting. This requires keeping succession planning in mind throughout the recruiting process to ensure that potential hires can thrive in future positions. Building relationships with external talent in advance of role openings while grooming internal talent for future positions within your organization is crucial to successful recruiting and succession planning.

Identifying Gaps in Your Organization

Gaps in your company can become apparent when looking to the future. How will your organization look in the next three to five years? Consider those business goals and identify the skills and capabilities you will need then, instead of focusing on your leadership needs today. For example, consider the consumer products company whose goal is a greater IoT or AI product mix. These products might be only 10% of the company’s focus today, but their goal is to make them 40% within a few years. Focusing on hiring managers who don’t just have the capability of leading in the consumer product business environment of today, but also have the tech knowledge that can be utilized in the future, is crucial to hitting that 40% goal.

As you look at your organization, it’s important to understand your “ready talent.” How do your managers and directors stack up? Do you have too many that are promotion-ready, or none that you can promote in the next year? For example, imagine that you have four directors reporting to you with an additional opening at that level. If your four current directors are ready to be promoted, it’s wise to get someone new to the director level in the fifth role to provide continuity during future personnel changes. As you look for that right fit, consider how they can help you reach your future goals. Are they being groomed as part of your succession plan? How will their experience fit with the existing team?

When hiring, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a sense of urgency. Take the time in the beginning. Understand what your organization needs based on your succession plan and the direction of the company. While managers will often take on an “I need someone yesterday” mentality, this urgency can disrupt the priorities that will help you fill the role appropriately. It’s necessary to keep in mind the ultimate goal: you want to ensure you make the right hire and do the right thing for your organization.

Recruiting for Your Leadership Pipeline and Filling the Gaps

Once you’ve identified your organization’s talent gaps, it’s time to start looking at candidates and build that pipeline of future talent. These are the individuals who will lead your business into new eras. They will have the skills needed for today, but also be great fits for future roles in your company’s succession plan. Building this pipeline happens in several ways.

First, consider the core competencies of a candidate’s skill set. In the midst of a leadership shortage, understand that it simply isn’t viable to wait for someone who fits 100% of your open role’s description. Even the most talented executives have skill gaps. What’s most important is if a candidate’s skill set fits the core competencies of the role. Be accepting of gaps as long as you’re not compromising on the “must-have” skills required of the position. Compromise on the skills that can be learned so that you can secure the right leader, train them up, and allow them to grow into the leader they can be. With 54% of companies planning to spend more on executive development, this is quickly becoming a standard practice.

Furthermore, building your leadership pipeline relies on relationships. In order to keep in touch with past interviewees while having regular exploratory conversations with potential leaders, many organizations partner with a seasoned search firm. Such a partner can cultivate the relationships necessary and get talent interested in your company before a role is even open, effectively creating a consistent stream of candidates. The key to this is building a real relationship with that search firm so that they can be aligned with your values, vision, succession plan, and culture while representing you accurately in the market. That way, your partner takes on all the time-intensive tasks necessary in building and maintaining a leadership pipeline, freeing up your internal resources while still granting you viable candidates at short notice when necessary.

Building Your Leadership Pipeline

A strong leadership pipeline that supports your succession plan requires consistent effort day in and day out, not just when an opening arises. Identifying gaps and building your pipeline are two elements of an ongoing cycle. By considering the future of your organization and focusing on relationships, you’ll always be prepared when it’s time to hire or promote executives, managers, or directors.

Need a partner who can help keep your leadership pipeline flowing? Reach out to Refine Search today.


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