Wednesday 21st February 2018
How to make a succession plan for your business and the top 5 things to consider:
A report published today by The Centre for Ageing Better and featured as the main topic of discussion on the “You and Yours” Radio 4 programme yesterday lunchtime, highlights the advantages of keeping older people at work, for them, the economy and society. A large part of the discussion was focussed on older people struggling to find employment in later life, or those unfortunately unable to leave work when they had planned, due to the extension of when the state pension can be claimed.
Closer to home, one employer worried about losing his ageing workforce was interviewed and his comments clearly reflected the succession planning problem faced by many of the businesses we work with, many of who are largely unaware just how acute this problem really is.
Last week I was met a customer to discuss a role she is recruiting for, the conversation turned to her own situation in life. In her early fifties, with an excellent career both behind and potentially in front of her, she dropped the bombshell that she is planning to retire at 55, able to afford to with a healthy private pension and portfolio of private investments.
She then said that she thought a number of her colleagues were in the same position and that 50% of their workforce were over 50. Hardly surprising when one in five people in the UK today is 65 or older.
Along similar lines, another client and close friend of mine resigned/retired from his job of 25 years last Christmas at the age of 48.
I discussed this issue with a client in the USA to see if they were experiencing similar problems. Interestingly their lack of health and dental insurance and the cost of the premiums the older they get to cover healthcare precludes even the wealthiest of employees to from giving up their jobs.
Key issues you should therefore be considering when mapping your business succession plan, is not only the age of the people you employ but how you perceive their personal wealth, what stimulates them about their work and what work life balance you are potentially able to offer.
Also consider what aspects outside of their job might influence their decision to leave employment early. Most of the people we have spoken to in senior positions, have a project such as a property renovation, an ambition to travel beyond a week in the sun, or wish to spend more time with their grandchildren.
Critically, they don’t wish to give up work entirely and usually enjoy the stimulation work provides, suggesting interim assignments, project based work or independent consultancy as a way to keep working. My recommendation is therefore to make provision for these people to stay, before they decide to leave.
The top 5 things to consider when succession planning include:
- Seek professional legal advice on how to approach succession planning discussions with your employees to avoid age discrimination.
- Map the profile of your current and future skills needs and whether these are at risk of being depleted by an ageing workforce.
- Produce a training plan your current workforce can be involved in implementing.
- Look at flexible working practices which will encourage older, wealthier employees to stay for the stimulation your working environment provides. Such as blocks of time off for travel, part time working etc.
- Wherever possible invest in technologies to reduce your reliance on people and skills.
As the Chinese Proverb goes: “When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago, when is the second best time? Today” Email or call us to discuss how we can help you to find and keep great talent for the long term: firstname.lastname@example.org