This quote is about the security team, but I think it is true of just about every position in your organization.
“Most companies don’t do a very good job of documenting institutional knowledge at all. There’s nothing for people to even refer to if that person has left, there isn’t even any training that’s going to make up for that loss of institutional knowledge. And that’s where I think a lot of the vulnerability for those prolonged vacancies is what walks out the door.”
When we look at our people and see a job description, it’s easy to consider that we don’t really need succession planning. Yes, you could find the next person that matches the description pretty easily.
But will they know that two years ago there was this problem and a workaround was put in place to solve for it that might require some explanation? Will they be able to easily find documentation that shows them how this same work was done 6 months prior to their arrival? Do they even know where to go to find out?
The importance of succession planning isn’t just about how do we replace our top executives, it’s also about how do we keep doing what we do when the person doing it isn’t here?
There are a lot of businesses dealing with employees who have resigned, who also have to figure out how they did what they did and how to train the next person to do it when no one ever wrote it down.
Write it down. Make it easy to find. Keep it updated. Because people leave.
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