Importance of Succession Planning within Building Products and Construction

The surprise departure of any senior / board level member of staff can create a state of panic and uncertainty for any business, both internally for remaining employees and externally for customers and shareholders. This can lead to impulsive appointments being made at a detriment to the business, its profits and employee’s morale.

I have certainly seen this across building materials and construction sectors over the past year.  Having shaved headcount in lean times, especially across technical / manufacturing and commercial disciplines, the recent increased demands on product, and the associated need to keep ahead of competition, has seen employers furiously fishing to find talent to grow with the company long- term.

This doesn’t need to be the case, we have worked with companies who have not only strengthened their business through succession planning at the very top of the business, but also across critical business functions.

One such example includes the work we have carried out with a building material finishing manufacturer.  The then Operations Director was being fast-tracked into a senior position abroad and the executive management team recognised a Plant Manager from a different site would, in time, move into this Operations role. This resulted in Collingwood being commissioned to recruit a Factory Manager for the £80m turnover plant, with a clear plan to shadow the Plant Manager and move into the larger role within two years.  Through our research and targeted headhunting process we identified 64 target individuals and this led to the successful recruitment for the role inside six weeks, with the candidate on track to take on the Plant role within the two year window.

We have also helped a leading global building product manufacturer who, having attempted to recruit for the role for eight months, instructed Collingwood to headhunt for a Deputy Head of Product Management role last year.  The Head of Product Management had been recognised by senior management team as someone who would step into an overall senior Marketing role within a year’s timescale.  We mapped out the regional market, carried out a thorough end-to-end recruitment process which led to Collingwood ultimately placing a talented and ambitious candidate who moved-up within the one year time frame.

Succession planning has a number of major positives:

  • High retention rate – when employees are managed and mentored to progress up the career ladder there is an incentive to stay.
  • Increased morale – with a sense of future possibilities morale and commitment is improved.
  • Reduced external recruitment costs – with the ability to make a senior appointment from within and the financial savings from non-production whilst the position is vacant.
  • Immediate value added – with no on-boarding required needed, the ability for your new appointee to make a difference will be immediate.

The key is to have the right balance between identification of talent within the business, whilst at the same time knowing and partnering with a recruitment specialist who understand your market and have good intelligence about external talent pools. Without this backup and support you will be forced into making a rushed decision which will be costly and detrimental to your business.

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For advise on how you can plan for expected and unexpected vacancies at a senior or critical level within your business call Mark Goldsmith on 01829 732 374.

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