The essential people in a company are not always the ones that come to mind immediately. The CEO, CFO, COO, and CIO are vitally important, yes, but they are not the only people a business is based upon. The same can be said for regional managers, general managers, and the controller.
Who else is integral to daily operations? A truly robust and effective succession plan will cultivate employees beneath the C-Suite level, including those in specialized and technical roles necessary for the success of that company. Consider the following roles that could be vital to a company’s success, depending on that company’s strategy:
The Payroll Administrator
Payroll is one of a company’s most important behind-the-scenes functions. If handled poorly, it runs the risk of alienating and frustrating the company’s most valuable assets: its people. Payroll is also, frequently, complicated, with multiple pay plans, commission structures, and bonus schedules. Too many errors, too often, and turnover skyrockets. What would happen if whoever handles your payroll right now had to be replaced immediately? Would employees notice? A complete succession plan will help ensure the transition is seamless.
The Executive Assistant
For every Chief and top-level manager, there is an executive assistant who knows the schedule, the contacts, the promises, debts, to-dos, and ins-and-outs of daily operations. Many executives prefer not to go a day without their assistants. What would happen if one had to be replaced on short notice? How much information would be lost? How many contracts would fall apart? What about time lost? How long would it take for a new person to get up to speed? How long before things ran as smoothly as before? An effective succession plan will take this into account, streamlining the process and reducing costs.
The IT department supports every action the company takes. Without IT support, business comes to a grinding halt. (Just consider any time you have seen a business with its system down.) Unfortunately, the IT department is also the one with the most frequent turnover and the most difficulties finding talented replacements. A comprehensive succession plan will address these realities and help ensure the department has an extensive talent pool to tap in the event a key person gets hired away or has to be replaced.
In all levels of a company, change is inevitable – employees are promoted, terminated, or are on leave. One thing that should coexist with change is the ability to adapt to that change. If you cannot prepare for the unavoidable then you and your company will fall behind. A succession plan that prepares for change will keep your company functioning efficiently and allow for minimal disruption during the times of change.