Boosting your succession prospects

People are the most important asset of any business. From the biggest global corporate to the smallest local firm, employees and the contribution they make are imperative to the success of any company. In order for a business to survive in increasingly competitive times, business leaders need to put processes in place to regularly audit their workforces and spot the gaps where upskilling is needed. Recent studies show that CEOs are now more concerned about the impact of a skills shortage on their business than at any other time in the past six years. They fear this alleged gap in talent could hinder their company’s ability to grow. So what are the best ways to spot a talent gap and essentially plan for the future? Identifying skill gaps can firstly be done by going back to basics. The best approach and first port of call is to sit down with your team and discuss how everything is going and where they think the issues lie. Steps can then be put in place to address the issues – such as reviewing team roles, addressing work capacity or providing extra training. Sometimes psychometric testing can also be useful in personality profiling and for individuals to know their own strengths and weaknesses. For bosses and team leaders, this information is also useful as it enables them to bring the best out of their teams and know which situations or tasks are better suited for each person. But talent gaps don’t just come down to personalities and the dynamics of a team, but also the need for additional training to upskill staff. Organisations can no longer continue to recruit people as they traditionally have – they need to be looking at existing pools of talent, making use of data to understand exactly what skills they need and where they will need them, to focus their future hiring efforts. Succession planning and exiting Along with spotting talent gaps, business owners also need to plan for the future. Succession planning really needs to be a three-to-five year process if they want to get this right and obtain top dollar for their businesses when they exit. A business owner should essentially let the business run in the hands of the senior teams, as any potential buyer will want to see that the business can perform successfully without the owner being there. Also, the owner should always be on the lookout for a potential buyer. This could be someone within the business, a competitor or another business that can complement the existing one. “Any potential buyer will want to see that the business can perform successfully without the owner being there.” Creating a skilled and adaptable workforce within a company should be apriority for any business owner. Technology is driving huge changes, and with that, businesses need to adapt to those changes. As previously mentioned, a business is only as good as its people, and succession planning and talent mapping go hand in hand. To sell a business, owners must ensure they have the right talent in place to make the company desirable. To have the right talent in place, business owners must look at the workforce on a regular basis to make sure employees have the right skills to make the company grow. Michelle Malcolm is principal, business advisory, at Crowe Horwath in Tauranga. Resource: Management magazine, April 2016

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