Succession plans must embody your company values

The emphasis on sound culture in modern business has to be a healthy trend. Many businesses profess values like honesty, transparency, trust and alignment. The real test of the values in a business can be seen from the type of people who get promoted versus the type of people who are encouraged to leave. Increasingly young people want to work for companies with a strong culture, ethics and clear adherence to their values.

Values take time to establish and they have to be ‘lived’ genuinely by everybody in the leadership chain from the CEO downwards. The example set by leaders is vital, especially where values are concerned. If you aren’t living your values it is better not to have them.

Businesses with high employee turnover find it very difficult to establish their values with any consistency. The benefits of low turnover can be seen in longer service, greater loyalty and commitment, the prospect of values being more deeply embedded and better overall commercial performance. Provided of course the long-serving members are good performers who do live the values. The very best companies, the ones with consistently high performance, tend to seek internal promotees rather than relying on external hires. They create a virtuous circle that reinforces their values automatically.

There should be a strong link between succession planning, talent development and company values. Why invest in people who aren’t good employees? The importance of values in assessing people’s potential for advancement, selecting them for development programmes, and spending time and money on their skills should be clear.

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