A succession planning tool is a human resource (HR) software that allows companies to identify future leaders. The use of a succession tool ensures business continuity and workforce stabilization.

A succession planning tool is a means to look forward and address potential issues that may arise following an unexpected event that affects business operations and employment stability. It helps in strategic decision-making processes that include developing employees and making them suitable for higher positions.

In short, a succession planning tool identifies qualified people who can step up to perform critical roles in the company should a leader resign or retire.

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How Does a Succession Planning Tool Work?

The use of succession planning tools typically starts with filling in the repositories or databases with employee and job profiles. Employee profiles contain staff information related to the aspects detailed in the previous section, while job profiles specify the requirement of each position.

Succession planning tools would then match both profiles and identify which employees are ready to take on higher positions immediately. These tools could also specify the number of years a particular employee needs to get ready to become an immediate successor.

HR teams can also see employees who are ready for particular job positions, and those that still need more years and training. In the image below, you can see a staff profile and the people who are ready to succeed a person in position in a year or two.

Source: http://www.successionwizard.com/succession_planning_SShot3.htm

With the tool, HR personnel can see that there is no one available to take over the particular person’s job immediately. As such, they can take specific actions to hone the skills of other employees and get them ready to become successors.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Succession Planning Tool?

The idea behind using a succession planning tool is to determine who among the employees has the potential to develop knowledge and skill sets to fill in much higher roles.

That said, business owners can plan what tools to acquire to develop future leaders. Having this information as part of their strategic planning allows them to manage time and resources accordingly.

For employees, a succession planning tool alleviates fears regarding their organization’s stability. It allows them to grasp corporate objectives and long-term goals better. As a result, they know what their company expects from them, what skills and talents it values, and what areas they need to work on to qualify for leadership roles.

What Are the Essential Features of a Succession Planning Tool?

Ideally, a succession planning tool must show the following:

Job Candidates’ Education and Certifications

A succession planning tool must factor in each job candidate’s educational background, including certifications and other relevant training.

Past Work Experience

It is also ideal for a succession planning tool to include employees’ past work experiences. That is especially useful to gauge if they have the knowledge and skills required for a position they are applying to.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Companies that aim to produce leaders that can up their corporate social responsibility should also factor in employees’ community involvement. Many business owners believe that individuals with intense social responsibility are adept at making decisions.

Record of Accomplishments

Employees that do well in critical positions often have good track records. Ideally, the succession planning tool must factor in a pattern of accomplishments, including the most recent ones.

Employees’ Strengths and Weaknesses

Candidates lined up for promotion should know their strengths. Personal traits should play a part in choosing the right person for the job, too. Using a succession planning tool that lets team members provide feedback would be helpful in this case.

Aside from strengths, it is also a must to factor in candidates’ weaknesses and areas for improvement. Incorporating these into an employee self-service portal will tell applicants what to develop further via training or apprenticeship.

Promotion Readiness

A succession planning tool should also identify if a candidate is ready to take on a higher position or not. It should objectively compare competing applicants based on a set of criteria (i.e., roles and responsibilities for the job) so future supervisors can make the optimal choice.

Openness for Relocation

A succession planning tool lets managers know which employees are open to relocation, particularly if open positions require moving to another business location. This feature is especially crucial if the company has various offices other than where the employee currently works at.

Corporate Legacy and Heritage

If a company initially started as a family-owned corporation, it’s best to include a feature that outlines its legacy and heritage. As much as possible, all employees must understand how the organization began and where it plans to go next.

A succession planning tool brings excellent results to organizations keen on filling up key management positions. Your choice of succession planning tools, however, depends on your business goals and requirements.