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Ensuring Continuity: Succession Planning Strategies for Professional Services

Quick look: Professional service firms depend on executive and managing teams to keep their business competitive and workflow successful. Investing in a succession plan enables companies to overcome gaps in leadership and encourage talent nurturing among current employees. Read ahead to learn how a professional employer organization (PEO) can provide comprehensive HR services that empower succession planning goals and expectations.

Businesses in the professional services industry are built on dedication, prowess, and discipline. Maintaining that strong foundation depends on a comprehensive leadership team. When an executive or managerial member leaves, it poses unique challenges that can limit decision-making processes and peer performances. 

That’s where succession planning comes into play. Succession planning allows professional service firms to prepare for and remedy gaps in leadership without losing sight of current operations. In this article, discover the important advantage businesses gain from succession plans and how a professional employer organization (PEO)’s expertise can support these plans.

Succession planning at its core

Leadership dynamics can change at the most unexpected times. The Chief Financial Officer may announce their retirement at the height of annual budget planning. A senior sales executive could take an extended sick leave before closing a significant deal. There’s even a possibility that internally hiring a new Director of Engineers causes an alternate engineer managing role to become vacant.

Creating a succession plan can counter the surprise challenges that follow these scenarios. In short, a succession plan is the corporate strategy used to transfer pivotal leadership roles to an alternate employee. Situations like prolonged employee absences, promotions, layoffs, and career changes prompt such transfers. Though these plans can exist for any position, they are primarily leveraged for CEO, VP, director, and equally high-ranking executive successions.

The benefits of succession planning

Setting up a thorough succession plan can yield multiple advantages. Here are some benefits leaders in the professional services industry have experienced.

  1. Preserve business continuity: Efficient leadership is imperative for company growth and productivity. When key personnel leave, succession plans protect an organization’s workflow and maintain performance across projects.
  2. Elevate leadership development: Training is the difference between receiving a leadership role and being a great leader. Though 83% of companies believe it’s essential to have leadership development for employees at all levels, that type of leadership development is only implemented within 5% of businesses. With a succession plan, companies feel more obligated to invest and follow through with full-scale development training.
  3. Swiftly adapt to change: Professional services firms must stay vigilant of the ever-changing industry. This vigilance includes being aware of trending skills and topics. While welcoming new leaders during the succession process, companies can garner new perspectives that help them stay innovative and better navigate their competitive market.
  4. Maintain client confidence: Internal teams aren’t the only ones weary of change. When an employee transitions, businesses must consider which clients could be affected by the change and how to preserve any rapport and relationship between the parties. Succession plans help companies remember to make their clientele aware of and confident in the transition.
  5. Uphold company values: Professional service companies flourish when their core values fuel their everyday operations. That’s why firms need to ensure a leadership change doesn’t cause a shift in values. Thanks to succession planning, new leaders can be aligned with the company’s long-standing practices, ideals, and mission. Doing so preserves the company values associated with the brand’s identity and overall strategy.

PEO services that enhance succession planning

Despite the critical benefits of succession plans, only 35% of organizations have a formal business succession plan and process. The main reason is that businesses require experienced guidance to properly set up a succession plan. Fortunately, PEOs work closely with professional service leaders to create HR solutions that can boost the progress of their succession planning. Here are some HR services that help this endeavor.

  • Risk and compliance management: PEO experts analyze risks affecting their customers and develop succession checklists or roadmaps to ensure concerns and regulatory obligations are remembered amidst an active leadership change. This precaution brings consistency and security to the process.
  • Learning and development programs: Decisionmakers in professional service companies can collaborate with their PEO partner to pinpoint the skills and talents they expect executive and managing roles to master. Based on those expectations, PEOs can shape a learning and development programwith accessible training resources and opportunities.
  • Recruitment and hiring assistance: Every succession results in unique outcomes. Sometimes, multiple internal candidates may be qualified for a vacant leadership role. On the other hand, the best person for the job may exist outside the company. No matter the scenario, a PEO streamlines the hiring process. From job post preparation to interview tips, PEOs increase a company’s chances of attracting top talent that meets the role expectations.
  • Performance management tools: A robust performance management system makes it easier to identify the most qualified internal employees for a leadership role. A PEO can provide the right tools to help set developmental goals, boost employee recognition practices, track employee progress, and foster healthy feedback processes.
  • Compensation and benefits planning: Professional service firms can attract and retain more talent with a competitive compensation and benefits package. Working with a PEO offers firms access to enterprise-level employee benefits that protect the health and wellness of their leadership team and staff. A PEO can also use their experiences with competitive salaries and salary transparency to strategize appropriate offer packages to include in succession planning objectives.
  • Strategic HR planning and guidance: While improving and executing succession plans, it’s vital for companies to keep broader HR strategies intact. PEOs balance succession planning needs with HR management obligations, giving businesses expert guidance on incorporating and maintaining best HR practices that align with priority objectives like talent nurturing, diversity initiatives, and cultural improvements.

ExtensisHR puts the “success” in succession planning

A secure succession plan promotes long-lasting leadership within a professional services company while preventing business disorganization and productivity disruptions. Whether your firm needs to brainstorm or revamp any succession planning, ExtensisHR can help.

As a certified PEO, we specialize in curating custom HR solutions that remedy your employee operations’ unique challenges. When it comes to succession planning assistance, ExtensisHR provides:

  • Complimentary full life cycle recruitment services that improve how your firm attracts, interviews, and ultimately hires highly qualified candidates for lead positions
  • An enhanced performance management solution, powered by 15Five, that streamlines peer reviews and synchronizes employee performances with company goals and initiatives
  • Fortune 500 employee benefits that connects your team to leading healthcare packages and wellness providers
  • Risk and compliance assistance to ensure succession plans align with regulations and legalities
  • Learning and development training that strengthens employees’ current skills, fosters leadership coaching, and prepares qualified workers for the next step in their career
  • A dedicated service team, including an HR manager, payroll specialist, and implementation manager, who oversee your HR services and keep your company’s leadership goals and objectives top of mind

Unexpected successions happen. Instead of being blindsided, professional service teams can maintain efficiency and direction by planning ahead. With the help of a PEO like ExtensisHR, professional services firms can encourage today’s leaders while nurturing the talented innovators of tomorrow.

Contact ExtensisHR today to discover how our PEO solution and HR services can support your succession planning goals.

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