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A Transformational Essential: Begin Succession Planning on Hire

Written by Terri Wallin

“Hiring for fit” is a critical element of succession planning. Once you begin hiring in this way, it is easier to select people who are eager to grow and have the background and ability to move up within the organization over time. 

Succession_Hiring Right_TransformWe often don’t think about succession until someone is unexpectedly out of the office for 3-6 months or when an executive leader gets that unbelievable opportunity and is gone with no replacement for 6-12 months. A succession planning strategy with each hire prevents you from losing great employees because you pro-actively think of ways to utilize and grow them.

To attain and sustain a transformational organization takes purposefulness. It requires paying attention to your talent pool and being intentional with hiring.  When leaders pay attention to succession planning, the hiring process is robust and the results are consistent. The number of great hires goes up. You attract people who truly fit the organization and are eager to grow and learn. They stay and you are grateful they do!

Hiring with success planning in mind requires a solid process to be in place and discipline with every hire. Often when candidates apply for a job, screening for qualifications is relatively straight forward matching the job description with the resume and application.  The more difficult, but essential, component to consider is the “fit” to the organization and the ability of candidates to grow with the company. An organizational culture shaped by its mission, vision, and values, finds it easier to develop the proper criteria.

The values, in particular, are foundational for defining “fit.” If you have organizational values, take time to review them regularly and ensure you believe in them and model them consistently. If you don’t have identified values, or they no longer “fit” the organization or you, it might be time to revisit them.

Once your values are clear and livable, take time to identify the characteristics of a great hire.

Develop these characteristics with your leadership team to ensure alignment on what “fit” means.  Once you are clear on the characteristics, develop interview questions around the criteria to help with identifying who “fits “during an interview. Also, identify the characteristics that don’t fit in your organization

Now the hard part, do not hire anyone who doesn’t “fit”.  It will impact your organization in the short and long term.  No matter the size of your organization, you can see what happens when an individual doesn’t fit the culture.  Classically, the person is moved around the organization to other departments, or more tasks are removed in order to minimize the impact of the individual to others. In the end, it is easier to hire well.

In addition to the hiring process, ensure your management team members coach, teach and mentor their team effectively providing continuity from hiring through promotion.  With this strategy the company wins in every way; reduced turnover is money saved and motivated employees perform optimally.  It motivates transformational leaders when they spend time coaching, teaching and mentoring instead of developing ingenious strategies to get rid of an employee who doesn’t fit.

Do you have a solid succession planning process in place on hire?  If not, what holds you back?  What would stop you from trying these recommendations?  Write us and let us know your results!

Other Blog post regarding transformation: Transformational leaders lead with courage

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