Currently, around 43% of the U.S. workforce works remotely at least part time. And although the number of remote workers has steadily increased in recent years, not many employers have a succession plan that includes them.
In fact, many employers admit to having incomplete or nonoptimal succession planning efforts in place altogether, which is surprising given that 94% of employers report that the involvement of a succession plan positively impacts their employees’ engagement levels.
As the number of your remote employees grows, here are some best practices to consider as you include them in your organization’s succession plan.
Integrate Your Succession Plan into Your Organization’s Long-Term Strategy
Your organization’s succession plan should work in tandem with your organization’s long-term strategy for growth and success and should not be separate from it. As your organization perfects its flexible and remote work arrangements, you’ll be able to gain a bird’s-eye view of the talent working for your organization and be able to create, refine, and manage remote roles that will work to bolster your organization’s strategic goals.
For instance, as you allow some of your more productive sales associates to work remotely a few days a month, you can still include them in succession plans that entail regular developmental initiatives for sales managers’ and sales directors’ roles.
All remote employees will continue to work together to support your organization’s strategic mission of garnering more sales on a day-to-day basis as they become prepared for more challenging roles in the future. And ensuring that your organization regularly has strong and knowledgeable sales managers in place is critical to its sales goals.
Continually Assess Organizational Talent
As you develop your succession plan, it’s important to continually assess all talent across your entire organization and that you aren’t blindly assuming that each employee’s current role is indicative of his or her next role (i.e., that all sales associates want to become sales managers).
After a few assessments, for instance, you might discover that a high-performing sales associate who works remotely has a greater aptitude for operational processes in physical warehouses, as well as a strong desire to perfect your organization’s shipping procedures.
Develop—Don’t Just Replace
As you develop your succession plan, make sure you are simultaneously developing your remote employees for their future roles. As you’re assessing your individual employee’s strengths and career objectives, develop a succession plan and learning and development plan for him or her that simultaneously works to accomplish the goals of your organization.
For example, don’t just assume if a sales manager who works remotely suddenly leaves your organization that you will be able to replace him or her overnight with a high-performing sales associate and that everything will still run smoothly—especially if the sales associate has no knowledge of your organization’s succession plan and hasn’t been properly trained or hasn’t prepared himself or herself to be a sales manager.
To ensure the success of your remote workers and your organization, be sure to include your remote workers in your organization’s succession plan and to regard the best practices mentioned above.