How to Ensure a Smooth Transition with Succession Planning in HR

September 2023

The landscape of human resource management (HRM) is always changing. When your workforce continuously evolves, your priorities as a HR manager must adapt accordingly. Recently, succession planning has emerged as a critical component, especially in the context of employee mobility. 

As businesses expand and talent becomes more fluid, having a robust succession plan in place is crucial to maintain business excellence and pave a path for employees’ progression.  But what exactly does succession planning entail? And how can it be adapted for employee mobility across locations and positions? Let’s explore these ideas further while considering how to optimise your HR strategies for success.

Succession planning in HRM involves identifying and developing potential candidates to fill key leadership roles within an organisation when they become available. In practice, this means providing career support to a select number of employees with the expectation that they will eventually move up to a leadership role. 

In the context of employee mobility, this becomes more complex, as businesses need to prepare for leadership transitions not only within their domestic teams but also across different locations.

If you’re wondering how to effectively succession plan for your successful employees, here are some ways to get started:

  • Identify high-potential employees: Begin by identifying employees who exhibit the skills, competencies, and leadership qualities required for critical roles within your organisation. 
  • Conduct a global competency assessment: When dealing with international employee mobility, assessing how adaptable your employee is to different cultures and competencies becomes crucial. These may include factors like cross-cultural communication, knowledge of diversity and inclusion practices, and leadership in diverse teams.
  • Develop a tailored training programme: Once you’ve identified your chosen employees, it’s crucial to set them up with the correct training for a global career path. This could include language courses, cross-cultural training, and exposure to different business environments with trips and work placements.
  • Utilise mentorship and coaching: HR departments should establish mentorship programmes to connect high-potential employees with relevant leaders, providing them with insights and guidance specific to their career paths.
  • Leverage technology: There are countless HR software solutions on the market that can make succession planning across global companies much easier and more accessible. Tap into them and make sure that your process is consistent and transparent for your employees. 

Investing in your employees’ abilities and encourage them to take on global roles can yield the following benefits:

  • Reduced disruption: A well-executed succession plan minimises the disruption that can be caused by sudden vacancies in key leadership position.
  • Talent retention: Offering a clear growth path through succession planning encourages your top talent to stay within the organisation, reducing turnover rates.
  • Effective knowledge transfer: When employees move across borders, they take valuable knowledge with them. A robust succession plan ensures that this knowledge is shared and retained within the organisation, helping as many departments as possible.
  • Enhanced adaptability: Leaders that are found through a global succession plan are better equipped to handle unique challenges, making the organisation more adaptable.
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