Succession Planning: Filling the Gap & Preparing Future Leaders

Posted by Paladin on April 03, 2014

Today’s workforce is made up of four generations: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and Millennials. Among that group, Baby Boomers hold three major distinctions:

  1. They’re the largest population in the workforce.
  2. They hold the most leadership positions.
  3. They’re about to leave the workforce in large numbers.

Over the next several years, Baby Boomers – all 50 million of them – will reach retirement age, and, as many of them leave the workforce, the question is: who will be there to fill the leadership gap?

Gen-X and Millennials, enter stage right. To make sure your next generation of leaders is standing by, it’s time to start making a succession plan now.  Here are a few tips to help you do exactly that.

Identify your next leadership team

Chances are, your next executive team is already on your payroll.  If this is the case, the odds of success are in your favor. It’s best practice to have people in the C-suite who already know your business and have a vested interest in its success. However, which people on your current staff are a good fit for your future C-Suite?

To help you identify the leaders, look for:

  • Sharp minds (required) and sharp wit (a bonus)
  • Compassion and courage
  • People  who actually listen to – and learn from – their colleagues
  • Individuals who are not afraid to take risks – and own up when they make mistakes
  • Team players who are respected by employees at all levels of your company

Get all generations on board

When your team is engaged, your company is more successful; however, motivations vary by generation – and often, by individuals – who each have unique goals, perspectives and work styles. If you want to maximize productivity and increase loyalty, it’s important to understand what inspires each of your employees.

As you assemble your next generation of leaders, we recommend formal training programs, which traditionally include executive coaching, mentoring and job rotation. There are less traditional options to consider, such as:

  • Offering “stretch” projects that intentionally place employees outside their comfort zones
  • Encouraging corporate social responsibility with volunteerism and community service initiatives
  • Sponsoring participation in industry groups and professional associations
  • Developing “reverse mentorships” in which junior-level employees lead a team of top executives to give them a taste of leadership and gain valuable feedback

By keeping your employees – at all levels – engaged, you’ll not only compensate for an exodus of leaders, you’ll also avoid a culture of apathy.

Hold on to the good guys

Give your top performers plenty of incentives to stick around.  Building strong relationships with them is ultimately more effective – and a lot less expensive – than searching for new leaders down the road.  Because of their experience and their built-in appreciation of your company’s vision, your top performers represent a better return on investment than a new hire.

Succession planning should be a top priority at your company. – if it isn’t already. With a strong plan in place, you’ll help ensure the continued success of your company as the Baby Boomers begin to enjoy their retirements.

Still missing some successors for your succession plan?

Paladin can help you find the right talented employees to align with your company goals and culture. Allow our team to help find the perfect creative professionals to continue to drive your company in the direction of success for generations to come.

Contact us today.

Posted in: Employers

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