When companies are recruiting, their top-of-mind concern is usually to ensure that they find someone well suited and qualified to do the required job. However, far too often, many companies stop there. Usually the questions they want answered include: Will this person be a good Customer Service Representative? Or will this individual be a suitable salesperson for our northwest division?

Enter succession planning. Succession planning isn’t merely ‘who will be our next CEO?’ Rather, it’s ‘who is our next in line?’ Do you know if that Customer Service Representative can be your next successful Customer Service Manager? Or do they show some potential to be your next Sales Manager? What could be their next step?

Simply put, succession planning is all too often not involved in the process of choosing a candidate – many companies consider themselves lucky if they hire someone who can do a particular job well.

And considering that candidate or employee’s next step is mutually beneficial. It benefits your company because you are able to increase employee engagement and lower your recruitment costs, and it benefits the individual because he or she will feel more loyal to your company knowing that you care about his or her career path.

There is a staggering statistic across the board that indicates that only 30% of employees currently working enjoy the position they hold. So, as I have said before, it’s not always best to fully rely on what someone has done in the past. It’s critical to look at what someone is inherently motivated to do and consider how that person truly matches to the requirements of a particular job.

I have suggested – and will continue suggesting – that one of the first things to do when you’re recruiting and building career paths for your employees is to really analyze where your employees are today and where they hope to be in the future. You might have a great salesperson who is doing a wonderful job, and you may want to promote that individual to management. However, he or she might not be inherently motivated or willing to take on that opportunity. Rather, it might make more sense to give that salesperson a larger book of business or a more exclusive set of clients.

You might also currently have a salesperson who is interested in moving into a more service-oriented position in your organization. These are all things that will help you build the best career path and succession plan for both your company and your employees.

Someone in your organization might be doing an adequate job in one area, but he or she could be excelling in another. And you won’t know if that’s the case until you have those conversations, invest in your employees, and take action accordingly. Your ROI will speak for itself.

We’ve found that, in the end, making that investment ends up being the least expensive – and the most productive – way to go.

Herb Greenberg, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO