How do you plan for business succession?

By How's Business
schedule9th Jan 18

If one of your key employees were to take a leave of absence or find alternative employment, what would the effect be on your business? For lots of employers, this would cause a certain level of panic as a big role being unfilled could seriously damage productivity. You need to make sure that regardless of what’s happening to your business internally, you should aim to always provide a consistent quality of product or service to your staff.

To ensure that you’re always able to provide for your customers, you need to utilise your most valuable asset: your staff.

Employees and your business succession strategy

Without your employees, you can’t plan for business succession, it’s reliant on how they work and operate within your business. You'll have a number of different roles in your business, all of which will contribute to the overall success of your operations. 

A clear succession strategy shows that no job role exists in isolation from the others. Offering your staff the chance to progress through your business and advance their careers is key, not only to business succession, but also can increase job satisfaction, employee loyalty and to keep staff turnover low.

Lots of businesses, especially in the tourism, hospitality and care industries, operate on a “revolving door” method in their business, recruiting new employees when others leave, meaning their staff turnover is high. However, successful business succession will help reduce this, relying on training and opportunities for progression to incentivise and motivate employees to remain loyal to the business. 

If you can show your staff that there are opportunities in your business to progress their careers, the likelihood of them working longer in your business increases. The more loyal, experienced and skilled your staff become, the more resilient your operations are. If the employee at the bottom of your business food-chain has no option to progress, they’ve got little reason to stay and your business is in danger of stagnating. 

Progressing your staff in lower level job roles is key to your business succession. It means that you’ll always have a high level of competency in the middle levels of your business, as well as loyal and motivated employees. Replacing promoted employees at lower levels is much easier than having to recruit for the more skilled areas of your business. 

However, if your staff members don’t know what the person above them is doing, they won’t be able to progress or step in, should the need arise. It’s your job to make sure they’ve got the skills and knowledge to move through your business.

Training is key

Business succession relies on training. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the structure, role and responsibilities within your business. Knowing who is responsible for what in the daily running of your business will help you understand what skills different job roles require. From there, you’ll be able to plan which staff need additional skills to be able to move seamlessly through the different parts of your business. 

Once you’ve identified where your training needs are, you’ll need to actually find the right courses and instruction for your team. It’s never been easier for you to get the right training to progress your staff into high roles within your business thanks to a programme by the name of Skills Support for the Workforce. Through the programme, your staff could be eligible for fully funded skills training to ensure that they have the knowledge and abilities to help develop your business. If you’d like to learn more about this training opportunity for your staff, get in contact with the How’s Business support team by emailing [email protected]

While the support available through the Skills Support for the Workforce programme is an excellent opportunity for business owners to progress their staff, it’s important to remember that external training isn’t the only answer for training your employees. Make use of the talent that already exists within your business, and have more experienced employees train others in key roles. Encourage your team to share knowledge and skills to ensure that a promotion, sickness or resignations don’t significantly impact your daily operations.


Successful business succession relies upon the team you have working with you. If your employees have the ability to progress through your business and are able to develop themselves professionally, your business will benefit. Not only will your employees become more productive, motivated and loyal to your business, you’ll also be able reduce your staff turnover and increase the resilience of your operations.

A big thanks to Sweet P Catering for their support and advice in the creation of this post.