The Plan For Successful Succession

Now that we’ve learned about millennials and their role in the workplace, it’s time to dive deeper into the future of business and think about millennials as leaders.

At some point, your current leaders are going to leave or retire. In fact, the Social Security Administration says that, on average, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day.

What will you do when your leaders retire? Who will take their place? This is where succession planning comes in and saves the day.

Succession planning is the process of finding and developing new leaders to replace your current leaders. However, finding these new leaders can be more difficult than you think.

Millennials are Your Future Leaders

91 percent of millennials have a career goal of becoming a leader, according to Workplace Trends.

This is great news for organizations that are thinking about succession planning. Since millennials are taking over the workplace, they will be your leaders one day.

However, there is a catch. Even though millennials want to be leaders, many of them aren’t willing to stick around long enough to become one. Only 31 percent of millennials expect to stay at their current job beyond five years, according to Deloitte.

In fact, the millennial turnover, mostly due to lack of engagement, costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion a year, according to Gallup.

Enhance Your Leadership Development

So, how do you get your millennials to stay long enough to become leaders?

One way is to improve your leadership development program. Workplace Trends reports that 55 percent of millennials aren’t happy with the leadership development opportunities in their organization.

Additionally, one of the main reasons that millennials choose a job is based off of the opportunities for promotions and professional development, meaning your leadership development program is more important than you may realize.

An example of a successful leadership development program is Coca-Cola. They realized that they needed to focus on filling their pipeline with creative thinkers that could become their future marketing leaders. So, they developed a list of preferred skills and behaviors that they were looking for in their future leaders, and invited several of their current marketing employees from all across the world to a two-day event. The goal of this event was to develop and observe these employees, and see if they would be a good fit as a leader. To this day, Coca-Cola holds these events multiple times a year, and shows that you can find your next leaders from within.

Create a Solid Succession Plan

With all of this in mind, start to craft a succession plan, if you don’t already have one in place.

A succession plan must include three things:

  1. The names of potential leaders that show promise.
  2. Intentional professional and leadership development programs.
  3. Details on the transfer of knowledge, relationships, and networks.

This kind of succession plan entices your employees, including millennials, to buy into your vision and goals, and can even breed more loyalty and engagement.

Ultimately, a succession plan calls for a change in focus. Whether it’s re-formatting your development program to be more in-line with what drives millennials, or putting a bigger emphasis and priority on succession planning, having a plan to replace your current leaders is essential for continued success and profitability.

Does your organization have a succession plan in place?

Millennial Workplace Infographic


Christy Smith

As SVP of Corporate HR for Aureon and SVP of Aureon Staffing, Smith is responsible for developing and implementing world-class strategic and operational human resource systems. These attract and retain the top talent in our industries necessary to ensure that Aureon delivers its service delivery promises to its clients. She has more than 20 years of experience developing and leading HR strategies and systems, yet she joined the Aureon family since 2014. She is a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, a member of the 2004 Des Moines Business Record 40 Under 40 Class and a member of the Society for Human Resource Professionals. Christy earned a degree in journalism with emphasis in public relations from the University of Kansas. She also received a Juris Doctorate Degree with Honors from Drake University.


March 17, 2017

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Christy Smith


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