Succession Management

A successful strategy will always consider the organisation's continuity. Planning and the timely succession of key players are essential to the process.

Change of guard

In most cases, a succession is the result of a planned and well-though exercise, but sometimes a successor needs to be found unexpectedly, The  success of this exercise depends largely on the identification of potential successors, the attraction of external talent and the creation of a dedicated training program. This allows organisations to avoid unpleasant surprises and to offer perspectives to the employees. This approach is cost-effective, and avoids unnecessary frustrations. It is worth stating here that discretion and diplomacy are ‘part and parcel’ of the process.

Generational shifts in family businesses

Succession management applies in all types of organisations, from start-ups to family businesses and large enterprises. But each type requires a different approach. As the founder, main shareholder and/or CEO of a family business you may be thinking about passing on the torch, and some of your family members may feel a calling to follow in your footsteps.

A family charter can be written up as part of an efficient succession plan. The Board of Directors and/or family council assures the objectivity of the succession process and is accountable to the family shareholders.

Our experts can provide objective help through the succession process, should you need them to. Assessing the potential of family members and setting specific leadership pathways can be an important part of this process.

How you pay your family members can also give cause for discussion. For that reason it is extremely important to keep any financial interests through shareholdings entirely separate from payments received for operational responsibilities. Hudson can help you decide the salary package, based on the prevailing market rates and the levels of responsibility.

As a neutral and independent party we steer the succession process in conformance with the corporate governance guidelines and family charter. This approach is based on discretion, neutrality, confidence and respect for the family values.

Succession in large organisations

Succession management is a complex matter in large organisations. It is a combination of different disciplines such as job design and grading, competency, career and talent management and reward management. The HR policy also covers talent review processes. Tools such as the 9 box can be used in the succession-management context to identify potential and performance objectively.
In the first place, Hudson helps sharpen the approach by answering a series of core questions:

  • For which key employees or roles should internal successors be groomed?
  • Is there a need to attract external talent? Is it worth identifying a bigger talent pool from which successors can be selected?
  • What is the definition of a key role, and what are the criteria involved?
  • What would the real financial and operational impact be if individuals left the firm in the short-term?

Our remote solutions and our development and learning centres allow us to identify these talent pools effectively. Individualised reports based on a leadership model help map the potential in large groups of employees.

In the next phase, a personal development plan is used to groom employees for key roles. They can then be bound to the organisation for a longer period through internal mobility, individual coaching and leadership programs, and so on. Our consultants can put an annual talent review process in place and screen potential successors objectively in terms of readiness for the role. Hudson can also steer the appointment process for future members of the management committee in close collaboration with the remuneration and nomination committee.

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