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Why succession planning is key

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/12/2016

© Eduardo Munoz/Reuters Former prime minister John Key's sudden resignation last week highlights the importance for businesses to also prepare for the loss of their leaders, a global recruitment company says.

Robert Half said its annual survey of New Zealand businesses found 57 per cent of Kiwi human resources managers consider the replacement of their company's top executives the most difficult task to plan for.

Robert Half New Zealand general manager Megan Alexander said companies that did not have a succession plan were at risk.

"The cost to a company when a high-performing employee suddenly resigns can be immediate and the impact felt across the business," she said.

"Companies need to be prepared, either by having a potential successor in place or by hiring an additional member of staff."

The recruitment firm's research also indicated that 43 per cent of HR managers believe the biggest change in future workplaces will be the increasingly mobile nature of the workforce.

Thirty seven per cent believe the biggest change will be the way social media is used to recruit staff.

SEVEN STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SUCCESSION PLANNING:

* Be proactive: Do not delay in searching for a future leader

* Keep an open mind: Even if a company's second-in-command is the obvious successor, do not disregard other promising employees

* Make the vision known: Include future managers in strategy conversations so they can acquire leadership skills

* Offer regular feedback: Keep track of top employees' achievements so you have something to reference when a management position opens

* Provide training: As you identify your top performers, offer additional training and mentoring to help them develop their skills

* Do a trial run: A holiday is a great time to have a potential successor step in to assume greater responsibilities

* Develop a hiring strategy: Once you have identified internal employees as potential successors, take note of any talent gaps so they can show you where to focus your recruiting efforts.

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