Succession Planning: A Mutual Connection for Success

Retain. Retain. Retain

While recruiting new workers into the construction industry is essential – equally important is offering the current workforce the training to increase upward mobility within an organization. Succession planning can be a crucial tool to promote employee growth within an organization.

According to a report by the National Center for Construction Education & Research and the Construction Industry Institute, in 13 years 41 percent of the construction workforce will retire. It takes 8 to 12 years for a worker to become fully trained as a skilled professional, so time is of the essence in order to transfer valuable expertise from current experts to new workers.

First, it is important to note, succession planning and replacement planning are two entirely different terms.

Replacement planning is planning what to do if something happens that is unplanned or unexpected. Succession planning is a long-term strategy with objectives to know what vacancies are coming online and when.

While both succession planning and replacement planning are used to identify people that can take the place of key positions such as senior leaders or specialized jobs, the approach is different.

Replacement planning is used to identify and name backup people for unexpected turnover in important positions and can come from within the organization or from the outside. This strategy is not about grooming people for a job; it’s about “plugging a hole.”

The goal with succession planning is to create bench strength by recruiting, hiring, and training with future leadership in mind. Planning in this way provides a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave or retire. Moreover, knowing (within reason) when these changes will take place further leads to long-term stability of an organization and positive workplace culture.

An organization that embraces succession planning receives several benefits.

First, it prepares people for retirement by creating a positive spotlight around this stage of life. The open dialogue around this stage in an employee’s life can put their mind at ease and help them transition to a flexible schedule or training role. Second, succession planning steadies the ship and shifts top-level managers and owners from crisis response to a long-term focus. And third, succession planning creates a great company culture by investing in current workers.

Company culture that is built around investing in, and growing workers at all levels leads to a boost in morale and company loyalty.

The cyclical nature of succession planning can provide an excellent opportunity for people ready to retire to transition into leadership and training roles. In this way, vital organizational knowledge that is often not contained in the pages of the employee manual is transmitted from tenured members to new employees.

There are several ways a company can promote succession planning; however, it usually starts with having a written policy or document. The succession planning document is a process that enables senior leadership to create a plan for identifying vacancies on the horizon, the training that will be needed to fill vacancies, and how the gap will be bridged. The act of creating a formalized policy also reinforces the company commitment to succession planning and creates an open dialogue within the company about opportunity for advancement. While every company differs on how to promote succession planning, some successful strategies include, flexible arrangements for workers preparing for retirement, openly discussing opportunities for advancement with the current workforce, hiring with advancement in mind, continuing education opportunities, and mentorship programs.

While in many cases, senior or specialized talent is filled from the bottom up, high potential candidates can come from other parts of an organization. Successful succession planning relies on long-term vision and an organizational commitment to fostering an environment where workers prepare themselves to qualify for more responsibility. When successfully implemented, succession planning celebrates upcoming vacancies for both the outgoing person and the company, as the existing workforce is ready to meet the challenge of the new role.


Josh Munns
Joshua Munns grew up in the construction industry differently than most, his Mom, Mary Davis, started a window company as a single mom when he was just 4 years old in 1983. Having a mom who was starting a business in the construction industry at only 23 years old made for some very interesting days. Fast forward 24 years to 2007 I took over the family business just in time for the Recession which hit my business extremely hard. I spent the next 11 years rebuilding the business, rebuilding my workforce and completely reshaping the company. In 2018 I sold the business to focus my energy on my passion, building careers in construction. In 2018 I founded Ground Up Careers to help business owners and employees build careers together. The career does not exist with the employer and the employer does not exist without the career. When employees and employers work together the end result is amazing. By building a strong company culture, offering great benefits and career paths for my employees I was able to build the business back stronger than ever. I did it and I want to help other owners take that step to take their business to the next level. It is an amazing feeling and a great privilege to be able to provide people with great careers.

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