There are many reasons why businesses choose not to invest time and resources in succession planning. But these three don’t always hold up to scrutiny when an organization’s future is at stake.
1. My workforce isn’t old enough: Some companies think succession planning is reserved for an aging and soon-to-retire workforce. Bob Tenzer, senior vice president of HR at customer communications management company C3/Customer Contact Channels, disagrees. “Someone could be there for a while, or someone you might expect to be there for a while might leave,” he said. “You have to be prepared for a transition at all times.”
2. My workforce is loyal to me: During the recession, some companies stopped investing time and money in succession planning because they assumed employees aren’t likely to jump ship when unemployment is high, said Laura Kerekes, chief knowledge officer at HR consultancy Think HR. “Companies that believe we’re being loyal to employees, so they’ll be loyal to us, even in hard economic times, are setting themselves up for failure in the future,” she said.
3. My business will be passed on in the family: Many leaders of family-owned businesses erroneously believe they don’t have to think about succession planning until the next generation is ready to take over, said Dan Schneider, a partner at succession planning company The Rawls Group. “They’re not ready to deal with it,” he said. “Succession planning creates present-day value, so there will be something to pass on to the next generation of leaders.”