Everybody likes to think no one could ever fill their shoes at work. Here’s why you want to make sure that’s not the case.
Turns out many companies – and finance departments specifically – would be left scrambling in the event of a sudden vacancy.
A mere 10% of accounting and finance professionals believe there’s someone internally who could easily step in to fill their role if they quit, according to a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey of more than 1,100 accounting and finance pros.
In fact, 50% said there isn’t even anyone in-house they could train to replace them, Their companies would have to hire externally to fill the void.
And it’s not just the CFO we’re talking about. There’s a lack of succession planning at every level of the finance function, which can leave many companies scrambling to get the job done if someone quits.
Whether you are already planning your exit strategy or have decades to go at your current post, no finance department can afford not to have succession plans in place.
5 strategies that get the job done
The folks at Robert Half have some strategies to help this important task get done, without saddling yourself with a major undertaking:
- Start from before they’re hired. As you interview folks for an open position in Finance, think about where they might go as they rise up the corporate ladder. If you can’t see them heading anywhere bigger, they might not be right for the job with you.
- Don’t just look at the top. When it comes to succession planning for executives and high-level managers, companies fared slightly better. But ideally you want to have someone in mind to take over for every member of your finance team … even if it means using Jamie in Payroll’s eye for detail in Accounts Payable.
- Enlist employees’ feedback. Talk with your team members about their long-term plans and goals. You never know – a certain staffer may have aspirations you never even knew about. Of course you don’t want to make any promises (“You’ll be Controller by the time you’re 35”). But by telling an employee you have your eye on them for bigger and better things, you’ll offer a show of confidence that can result in a real morale and motivation boost.
- Develop needed skills. Not everyone will be a perfect fit. If they were, they’d already be doing the job you want them to ultimately fill! So once you have some successors tapped, determine which skills need to be developed and devote the time and training to get them there.
- Be transparent. Communication’s key when it comes to succession planning. You want to let possible successors know what’s expected of them and what you’ll give them in return. Again, nothing’s a guarantee. And you should stress that. But if you can keep the lines of communication two-way throughout, expectations will be clear all around.
Info: For more on the succession survey, click rhmr.mediaroom.com/succession-plans-lacking