Succession Planning; How to Backfill your own Position

Posted August 29, 2017 in Hiring Tips by Elizabeth Tischer

Your ultimate success in business depends on your ability to have the right talent in the right space. The problem is that every market and every position will change and every person in that position is going to grow and to change. Ultimately people are going to leave their positions and move into upper level slots. Promotion happens every day and with it comes vacancies that need to be filled to keep your business running smoothly.

The position that they had that proved to be of such importance to you is going to need to be filled with another person. Hopefully--with another very good person. How do you ensure that is going to happen?

It's imperative that you have a person in mind to fill a position when it becomes vacant and that you've groomed that person to ensure that no position goes unfilled for any lengthy amount of time.

Having to fill a sudden and unexpected vacancy is a lot easier if you’ve taken steps to plan for that in advance by means of training and development of your employees. The problem is that in today’s lean economy, backfilling often means having someone who has been trained to do the job prior to needing them and that isn’t always possible.

There is an old saying “plan your work and work your plan.” If you’ve got employees who have filled that position in a pinch when someone was sick or couldn’t make it in then cross training may be the ideal solution to help you to get ahead in case of a vacancy that you don’t expect. You can use some cross training and development to help another employee move up the ladder. Promotion of a subordinate is one of the best ways to keep your employees with you and to help to ensure that you do not have long and arduous searches to find the right employee.

Cross training means that you can have multiple employees who are trained to do the same job and in the case of an illness or a sudden leave, they can take over and ensure that there is no break in the continuity of the position.

There are also massive advantages to cross training that you may not have considered. In most cases, companies which use cross training find that they are able to promote from within rather than having to spend time and money for a search.

Companies which use cross training also boast much higher employee retention. In many cases companies are not training subordinates and are actively limiting employees who could do more. That limitation tends to send employees out the door faster than any other reason for leaving a job.

If you’re interested in keeping your employees longer and in keeping your positions filled—and backfilled—cross training may be the answer that you’re looking for.

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