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Your Succession Plan Isn’t Ready Unless It Includes This Key Element

Your Succession Plan Isn’t Ready Unless It Includes This Key Element

Your Succession Plan Isn’t Ready Unless It Includes This Key Element

How succession ready is your organization? Approximately 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 years old today, and another 10,000 will turn 65 tomorrow. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day until the year 2030. That’s a significant percentage of the population reaching retirement age. If your company isn’t focused on succession planning, you’re going to have a problem within the next few years.

If your succession planning has focused exclusively on retention risk analysis and identifying two to three high potentials to play backup for key roles, you don’t have a succession plan; you have a replacement plan. Replacement planning isn’t enough, though. How you move people throughout your organization matters. Employees want to work for companies who prioritize the development of all, not just a few.

Effective succession plans create and develop talent pools, which prepare entire groups of high potentials for more challenging roles and responsibilities. Instead of relying on one person to be promoted to a critical position after another one leaves or retires, an effective succession plan creates a group of people who are prepared to make lateral and vertical advancements to fit company needs. Preparing this pool, however, and developing them quickly enough can be an issue for busy talent departments. A sophisticated modern mentoring platform can streamline these processes, seamlessly tying together succession preparation and employee development.


Explore the benefits of including mentoring in your succession planning today.


Mentoring for Succession

“Talent management departments keep their eye on the bench,” says Trish Jones, principal at eMentorConnect. “They’re constantly looking across their organizations at who’s tenured or leaving with a view toward readying the people on their bench for new roles. When they look and see they have eight different managers who are very tenured in their roles, and six of them are up for retirement in the next two years but their successors are all still three to five years away from being ready to fill those roles, that’s a problem. The question then is ‘How do I accelerate the growth of the people on my bench?’ That’s where mentoring comes in.

“Our mentoring platform, KNOX®, helps talent managers accelerate development by pairing the people on the bench (mentees) with tenured mentors based on subject matter criteria and role. KNOX also automates and tracks by department, discipline, and seniority, which facilitates and streamlines knowledge transfer.”

By tracking and matching people in this way, the KNOX mentoring platform enables talent managers to ensure each candidate in the talent pool has access to mentors in various disciplines as well as specific mentors with subject matter expertise.

“An employee being prepared for succession management will want subject matter expertise that’s relevant,” explained Jones, “such as one-on-one training with a more senior executive they might succeed. They might need access to other people, too, especially if they’re being promoted across business units. They might need a mentor who will teach the technological requirements of the job at the next level, for example, and also another mentor who can teach them about the culture of the new division or department.”

Managing that number of interactions and relationships manually is difficult. A modern mentoring platform makes it simpler, reducing costs and administrative oversight.

Even the smartest people can only hold a certain number of variables and data in their heads before it becomes jumbled,” said Jones. “The KNOX system digitizes that information and suggests pairings to meet a specific need, which enables large organizations to conduct succession planning efficiently and effectively.

“One of our clients at eMentorConnect, for example, is a multi-national client in the healthcare industry whose talent management organization uses the KNOX platform for their succession management and planning. They’ve been amazed at the way the system transforms what was previously a very time-sensitive and intensive process into an automated process that enables them to track their succession management activities and to efficiently pair employees targeted for succession quickly and effectively.”

Mentoring After Succession

An effective mentoring program also ensures that newly promoted employees continue receiving the support they need to be successful in their new roles.

“A targeted mentoring program ensures the newly promoted have regular access to people who are good at their jobs,” explains Jones. “It can pair the newly promoted with senior employees who have been in the same or similar roles for a number of years. This helps the newly promoted learn and retain what it takes to succeed.”

“Interestingly, it isn’t just the mentees who benefit from these mentoring relationships,” adds Jones. “The mentors really appreciate the opportunity to share their wisdom in a targeted way with someone who is ready to take on a new role in the company. Often in a succession planning or management program, people focus on the benefit to the mentees — developing their brains and getting them up to speed faster — but these programs end up being mutually rewarding because the mentors get a lot of gratification out of being able to prepare the next generation. It’s a win-win-win for the mentor, the mentee, and the company.”


Ready to take your succession planning to the next level? See how the KNOX system can accelerate development and increase success. Schedule a demo today.

Mark Brodbeck, MSW

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'