Career Planning vs. Succession Planning: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that the corporate world is changing so quickly. And with all these changes, we can’t help but encounter questions and doubts about where we’re really headed to. But perhaps, the ultimate question that many people face in the modern-day workforce is whether or not they’re going to adapt to these changes—or if they even have the opportunity to do so at all. 

If you are part of an organization that offers job security, there’s likely little concern about how you will keep your job in the years to come. But what about everyone else? If you aren’t sure what your career future holds, it might be time to start thinking about succession planning and how it relates to career planning at your company.

Career planning is the process of setting goals and making decisions that will help you achieve your desired career, and there are two major types of career planning: short-term and long-term. 

A succession plan involves the process of identifying and developing individuals who have the potential to fill key roles in your company. It’s important to have a succession plan in place so that a business can continue to run smoothly if someone in a key position leaves or retire.

Career planning and succession planning are both ways to help an employee grow within their organization, but they have some key differences. While both involve developing long-term strategies, they differ in several key areas that you’ll want to keep in mind as you decide which company is best for you. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about these differences, so you can start making effective plans that will make sure you stay happy and engaged.

Career Planning

Most people already have an idea of what they want to do with their lives and what they want to achieve in the future. They may not know the specific details, but they have a general sense of the path they want to take. This is where career planning enters the picture.

Short-term planning looks at the next 3-5 years, while long-term focuses on what can be accomplished in 10+ years. If you have no idea what type of work would be best for you, short-term planning might be for you. 

Short-Term Planning Vs. Long-Term Career Planning

Short-term career planning is about finding out where your interests lie and then identifying which careers or jobs these interests fit into. For instance, if you’re unsure about the specifics of how to find a job after college or what profession is right for you, you can consider skillsets interest you most as well as whether there are any opportunities available locally that match these skillsets.

Long-term career planning, on the other hand, is more suited for people who already know what they want to do with their lives, either because it’s something they’ve wanted since childhood or because it came from an epiphany later in life. 

6 Steps for Career Planning (For Anyone Who Wants an Exciting and Fulfilling Career)

If you’re feeling frustrated or stuck with your career, it’s time to take action and start planning your next steps. You don’t have to accept whatever career path life throws at you; you can choose the direction you want to take, while always keeping an eye on the future, and on your own wants and needs. 

Career planning doesn’t have to be complicated, either; these six steps will get you started on the right track with ease.

1. Explore Your Career Options

There are a lot of great career assessment tools out there that can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know what you’re good at, you can start exploring different career options that might be a good fit for you.

2. Perform Field Research

What are your interests? What are your skills? What are your values? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to narrow down your options and find a career path that’s right for you.

3. Know What Job You Want

The next step is knowing what job you want. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to have a clear idea of the role you want to play in the workforce. 

There are a few ways to help you figure it out. Talk with friends about their jobs or passions and see if any spark something inside of you. Keep a list of everything you like doing or things that interest you so that when it comes time to narrow down the options, they’ll be easy to pick from. You can also try taking an online quiz or survey to get started like this one

4. Build Your Credentials and Make a Resume

You can then build your credentials in the field you want to enter. If you don’t have any experience, look for internships or volunteer opportunities. Once you have some experience under your belt, start putting together a resume that highlights your skills and accomplishments. And for this, you can use an online resume maker

An online resume maker usually has many professional templates available so you don’t have to write anything from scratch. It also comes with other handy features for your job application, such as a cover letter maker. 

5. Prepare for the Job Search

The job search can be a daunting task, but preparation is key. Here are a few things you can do to get ready:

  • If possible, work on updating your resume before your leave your current job. Don’t worry about making it perfect the first time around. Just make sure it includes the most relevant information about what you’ve done so far in your career and what skills you have that could be transferable to other careers or industries. 
  • Make connections with friends of friends or family members who may know people at companies where they would like to work. If you’re going to an alumni event or networking event, bring copies of your resume with you. You never know how many contacts one person might lead to.
  • Start practicing interview questions with someone close to you. Ask them what types of questions employers ask and come up with good answers.
  • Create a list of questions that are important for the type of job one is interested in. Then, prepare answers for them.

6. Begin Your Job Search

As long as you have a good understanding of what you want, you can easily look for jobs that align with your goals. When searching for jobs, the internet is your friend. A quick search on Google will give you a list of possible opportunities you can apply for.

A lot of times, people don’t feel like they’re skilled enough to pursue certain careers even though these same occupations require less education than others. To avoid being in this situation, do research on different industries to see if your skill set matches up with them; if it does, go ahead and apply! Don’t ever underestimate yourself just because you don’t have formal training; show off what you can offer instead.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is an important part of running a business, whether you own it or work there. If you’re currently working in the business and have no plans to leave anytime soon, succession planning might not seem like that much of an issue for you. However, you still need to make sure that if something were to happen to you today, the business would be able to continue successfully.

A good succession plan will help keep your organization running efficiently even after an unexpected departure. Then again, for a succession plan to be successful, it needs to be well-developed and carefully executed. 

You’ll need to outline what steps you want future employees to take before they are ready for promotion. You’ll also need to decide on what criteria they must meet in order for them to become qualified candidates for these positions as well as how long they should work at each level before being considered for promotion. 

Let’s say you have an executive assistant who has been with your company for 20 years and is nearing retirement age. For this individual, there may not be any single replacement candidate because of their vast knowledge and experience with the company. But for sure, several people could assume their responsibilities while gradually stepping up into their shoes over time.

How to Correctly Do Succession Planning for Your Business

Succession planning is important for any business, but it’s especially crucial if you want to keep your company afloat once you move on from it. It’s one thing to leave the day-to-day operations to someone else, but it’s another matter entirely to let go of the reins completely and let your business start trending downward. 

With the right succession plan in place, you can gradually transfer power over to your successor while keeping things on track as much as possible. The most important thing here will be to determine who will be your successor (or successors) before any plans are made at all.

1. Identify the Key Positions

In any business, there are key positions that are essential to the company’s success. These positions may be filled by one person or by a team of people, but they all play a vital role in keeping the business running smoothly. When succession planning, it’s important to identify these key positions and have a plan in place for who will fill them if the current occupants can no longer do so.

2. Determine the Position’s Needs

The next step in succession planning is to determine the needs of the position that you are looking to fill. This includes taking into account the skills, experience, and knowledge that will be required for the role. 

3. Work on the Job Profiles

In this step, you need to identify the skills and experience needed for each position. You can use this information as a reference when recruiting or promoting employees for the new role.

4. Begin the Recruitment Process

One of the most important aspects of succession planning is recruiting the right people to take over your business. This can undoubtedly be a daunting task, but there are a few things you can do to somehow make it easier. 

First, decide what kind of person you want to work with – someone who shares your same values or someone who has the skills and experience that would fit well with what you have established in your company. 

Second, find out if they are looking for a new job or if they don’t want anything more than their current employment. Third, discuss what compensation package they’re expecting. If they’re not willing to meet your requirements, then it’s time to move on and find another candidate.

5. Choose a Successor

This person will be responsible for taking over your business when you retire or are no longer able to run it. When choosing a successor, consider the following: 

  • You may want to choose someone from within your organization, but this may not always be possible. So, look closely and make sure the candidate is capable of meeting the job’s needs and demands.
  • If you plan on hiring an outside successor, make sure they have the same values and ethics as you do, so that they can maintain the same level of quality within your company. 

6. Handover the Tasks

This can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re doing this so that you can focus on the things that you’re good at. Once you’ve handed over the tasks, you need to start training the successor. This includes teaching them how to do the job and how to handle any challenges that may come up.

7. Document the Entire Transition

You should not only make a list of who will take over when you retire or die, but also document how they will take over your responsibilities and tasks. By documenting the transition, it allows you to think about what is going on with the company today as well as what could happen tomorrow. That way, there are no surprises that would negatively affect business operations if someone was suddenly thrust into the role without preparation.

The Need for Career Planning and Succession Planning

The workforce is changing. The traditional career path is no longer the norm, and the concept of a lifelong job has been replaced by short-term contracts and freelance work. This change in the workforce has led to an increased focus on succession planning, as employers are now realizing that they need to prepare for the day when their employees retire or leave.

This only means that succession planning should be in place not just for the sake of the organization but also for the sake of employees who may be passed up for succession planning.

Organizations should take care to ensure that employees are aware of their succession plan and have a chance to prepare themselves for it. They should also make sure that they are providing opportunities for employees to grow in their current roles and keep them engaged with their work.

Organizations should also have to be more transparent about what they are looking for in a candidate and what the job entails. They should provide training for their employees so that they can learn new skills and stay relevant.

Lastly, organizations should also provide opportunities for employees to take on new roles, responsibilities, or projects. This will help them find their strengths and get recognized for things or work they excel in.

The Key Differences between Career Planning and Succession Planning

You may be wondering, what is the key difference between career planning and succession planning? As you can see, career planning is an individualized process that helps employees assess their skills and interests, set goals, and create a plan to achieve those goals. Succession planning, on the one hand, is a process that organizations use to identify and develop individuals who are potential candidates for key leadership positions. It involves assessing talent, identifying gaps in succession plans, and creating a strategy to address these gaps. 

Organizations usually establish succession plans at all levels of the organization, not just top-level positions. The when and how of implementing or going about both as part of an employee’s growth prospects within the organization depend largely on whether you’re an employer or employee.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to planning for the future of your business, the two main approaches you can take are succession planning and career planning. Both involve setting goals and taking steps to achieve them, but there are some key differences between the two. 

For instance, succession planning is typically aimed at employees with long-term prospects within an organization, while career planning may not be as detailed or as wide-ranging in scope. It may also be necessary to map out specific objectives in order to have a successful outcome from either process.

As a business owner, you have to remember that your people plays a critical role in your organization. So, value the work they do and give credit and recognition to whoever is deserving. Guide your team members as they plan for their personal career growth, and prepare a succession plan to keep them motivated as both of you hit both your business and personal goals.

Career Planning vs. Succession Planning: What’s the Difference? was last updated March 6th, 2024 by Edward Bishop