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Here comes change: key dates and facts on IR35 and EU Settlement Status

Here comes change: key dates and facts on IR35 and EU Settlement Status

Change is coming: are you prepared? This April, the new financial year brings significant changes to the employer landscape – namely, IR35 and the EU settlement scheme. Read on for the key facts and dates you need to know to ensure your business is ready.


IR35 applies to people who work for a business in a self-employed capacity but are essentially employees. Clamping down on this practice, changes to UK law will see HMRC recover unpaid tax and National Insurance from businesses if they believe employers are guilty of using self-employment loopholes to avoid giving employees necessary rights and benefits.

From 1 April 2021, companies that employ more than 50 employees or have a turnover of over £10.2 million will need to pay tax or National Insurance for workers or contractors who are essentially employees.

What’s the difference between an employee and a contractor?

Employees have a contract, paid holidays, PAYE, pensions, and a host of employment rights. Meanwhile, self-employed freelancers, workers, and contractors submit invoices, aren’t entitled to holiday or sick pay, and don’t share the same rights as employees.

EU settled status

Another critical change coming to the world of employment is the EU settled status. This applies to businesses with EU citizens working for them, as the individuals will have to reapply for residency status.

Post-Brexit, EU workers can only remain in the UK if they arrived before 31 December 2020 and have applied for residency via the EU Settlement Scheme.

Once individuals have settled status, they’re free to remain in the UK indefinitely and may be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Pre-settled status is available to those who have been in the UK for less than five years. It permits them to stay for five years, after which they can choose to apply for full settled status if they wish to remain here.

The good news is, there’s still time to apply for EU settled status if you or your employees haven’t done it yet.

The deadline for employees to apply for EU settled status is 30 June 2021. It’s free, and you can do it here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

If you’re unsure whether your employees have a legal right to work in the UK post-Brexit, you can check here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checklist

Can I still employ someone from outside the UK post-Brexit?

Free movement between the UK and the EU ended on 31 December 2020, and a new points-based immigration system is in place in the UK.

So, while you can still employ people from the EU to work in your business following Brexit, they must score the necessary points and have a relevant work permit or status, and you must have a sponsor licence from the Home Office.

Skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor must have a skill level equivalent of RQF3 (equivalent to A level), speak English, score 70 points on the system, and earn at least £25,600 (or the “going rate” for the job).

Employees earning lower salaries may still apply by “trading” points, or if their job is on the shortage occupation list.

You may also transfer an employee from another part of your international business to work in the UK via an “intra-company transfer”, but certain stipulations apply.

Need help preparing for IR35 or post-Brexit employment?

Hopefully, this summary will help you work through the changes coming up in 2021.

If you still need any advice or support, we’re here to help. Call us on 0330 555 1139 or drop us a line at hello@crossehr.co.uk

You can also take a look at our webinar below, delivered for RIBA West London to share some insight on HR matters currently affecting their members.  After many interminable months of furlough doom and gloom, it was great to talk about how businesses can prepare for the future: 

  • Brexit and work permits 
  • IR35 and the impact on contracts 
  • Restructuring
  • And more 

 Check out the recording below and ensure you plan for the upcoming change.  


EU Settle Status

EU Settle Status

Settle Status: EU Workforce


Do you have employees from the EU working within your business? Changes to the law may mean that they have to reapply to secure their residency status with the new EU Settle Status.

To make this transition period easier, we’ll be stepping you through what you need to know as an employer to support the welfare of these employees in such indefinite times.

What is the EU Settle Status?


On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. Although no official deal has been agreed upon yet, changes have started to slowly filter through – one of the largest being ‘Settled Status’.

But what is settled status and why does it matter?

Settled status is the term for being a resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of your stay. There are two types of status in the EU Settlement Scheme:

  • Settled status
  • Pre-settled status

Settled Status:


EU citizens who are granted settled status are permitted to stay in the UK as long as they choose; they can also apply for a British citizenship if they are eligible.


Pre-settled Status:


Pre-settled status – which is usually granted to those who have not lived in the UK for five continuous years – allows inhabitants to stay in the UK for a further five years from the date they are granted pre-settled status. After this period, individuals can reapply for full settled status.


Important Notes:


The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

It is free to apply to the scheme through the government website.

Before beginning the application process for settlement status, applicants should have ready proof of identity and residency. It may also be worth double-checking that applicants have not already received pre-agreed settle status here.


What does this mean for employees?


Citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. Without confirmed settlement status, these citizens will not have the assumed right to:

  • Work in the UK
  • Use the NHS for free
  • Enrol in education (or continue studying)
  • Access public funds, such as benefits (if eligible)
  • Enter the UK without a visa

Employees that do not have settled status face the potential risk of having paperwork refused, being unable to work legally in the UK and even deportation – uprooting their family, career and life.

Therefore, it is important to support your EU workforce through their application to ensure there is no disruption to their legal right to work or live in the UK after this deadline.


How can employers help?

Importance of application:


As employers, there is no legal requirement to inform your workforce of the impending deadline but it’s a good idea to ensure there are no legal hiccups (and it also feels like the right thing to do).

Employers do not require proof that employees have applied but getting status through the scheme will protect their future rights, so it is very important that they apply if you want them to continue working for you.


Encouraging application:


There are a few practical steps you can take to encourage your employees to apply.

Why not start by sending a letter to all your EU employees? It doesn’t have to take much time with letter templates already drafted up and ready to go. You can also ensure visual cues help prompt their minds by displaying informative posters.

Remember: although you can encourage people to apply, as an employer, you cannot ask them whether they have or about the outcome.


Supporting the process itself:


The process itself was designed to be as seamless as possible. However, with the added complication of coronavirus, a few spanners have been thrown in the works.

Due to many businesses being shut for a number of months and international travel complications, employees may have struggled to renew expiring passports. Therefore, workers may require flexible hours or additional holiday days to address this before their application.

Further, it may be useful to make your facilities available for support. For example, at this time, many printing shops and internet cafes are shut due to the pandemic. Therefore, pre-granting access for your employees to use your scanner, printer or work phone for their application may aid their progress.

Finally, although it is not standard procedure, if the employee requires any documentation to support their application then provide this in a timely manner; holding this process up will cause additional stress for the employee, distracting them from their work and prolonging indecision.


Managing stress:


The uncertainty formed in the last few months has had an impact on everyone. However, we must consider those who experience further doubt about their rights within the country compassionately.

Managing stress and keeping a close eye on employees is essential at all times. Look out for key indicators of deteriorating wellbeing, such as:

  • Reduced engagement
  • Missed deadlines
  • Lower morale
  • Increased tiredness

If you notice a significant shift in their wellbeing, it may be time to check in; look out for tell-tale signs of poor employee mental health and be ready to act.

Where possible, refer employees for additional support and be compassionate towards their situation. It may be worth considering ways you can support employees with stress outside of work with flexible working, duvet days or even a shift in the workplace culture.

The charity MIND has some great, free resources to help individuals manage stress – at work and home. Could sharing some of their best resources equip your taskforce with more resilience?


What next?


Considering your current employees is a great first step, but what about future employees?

Recruitment Process:


If you are planning on recruiting before the settlement deadline, it’s important that you don’t sit on your hands.

Speeding up your recruitment process will allow your business to:

  • Beat the deadline;
  • Widen your search for talent;
  • Allow the successful candidate (if from the EU) to apply for settlement status in time.



As an employer, you have a duty “not to discriminate against EU citizens in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU as both a prospective and current employer”.

That means that you cannot make an offer of employment, or continued employment, dependent on an individual having made an application. However, consideration should not stop here; ensure you address workplace discrimination at all levels for a safe working environment for all.


  • Checking your processes and procedures for bias
  • Educating employees on how to report discrimination
  • Including EU citizens in your diversity reports
  • Reminding employees of the fine line between ‘banter’ and discriminatory harassment
  • Ensuring you have the processes in place to address hostility appropriately

Right to work checks:


It has been confirmed that there will be no change to right to work checks until 1 January 2021. That means that job applicants can continue to prove their right to work using any of the following:

  • their valid passport or national identity card if they’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • their valid biometric residence card if they’re a non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member
  • their status under the EU Settlement Scheme using the Home Office’s online right to work checking service.

You will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU employees. Therefore, changes will only apply to applications in the new year.

For more information, read the official right to work checklist here.


More help


For official support on how employers should support the EU Settle Status scheme, GOV have created an ‘employer toolkit’ here.

However, if you require expert HR support and consultancy, please get in touch.



Criminal Record Checks

Criminal Record Checks

If an applicant or employee has a criminal record, that doesn’t mean they aren’t right for the job.

You may be surprised to learn how many people end up with a criminal conviction by the age of 53. So, how does this affect your hiring decisions?

We explore this and more in our presentation below.

Get to understand criminal record checks in our presentation below, including:

-The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
-Different Types of DBS
-Spent vs Unspent Convictions
-Risk Assessments

Please play and pause the slideshow by pressing the button in the bottom left of the video.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Ageism in the Workplace – Problem or Opportunity?

Ageism in the Workplace – Problem or Opportunity?

With all their experience, you’d think employers would revere older workers. Yet research shows that more than a third of employees believe there is age discrimination in their workplace. And, despite employment law which should protect workers from age discrimination, a significant 19% of employers share the same concerns.

With the ONS predicting a continued increase in the proportion of older workers, are employers missing out on a golden opportunity by ignoring older workers in favour of younger employees? We take a look at this issue, the benefits that a more mature workforce bring and the steps you can take to attract and retain older employees.


Why Employers Might Have to Hire More Older Workers

Between 1993 and 2018, the number of workers over the age of 65 doubled. And employment for those aged 50 to 64 increased by a third. There are many factors contributing to this rise in work rates amongst older people including:

  • Longer life expectancy and better health – many people simply feel they are not ready to retire yet.
  • Job enjoyment – plenty of people enjoy their work and want to continue.
  • Social interaction – work fills a large proportion of the day with the social contact that many might not otherwise get.
  • Lack of pension savings – some people need to keep earning a living thanks to pension changes.

According to the ONS, the number of older workers is set to continue because by 2041 the baby boomers who are currently in their 50s will have moved into older age. By 2066, there will be a further 8.6 million UK residents aged 65 years and over, taking the total number in this group to 20.4 million and making up 26% of the total population. 

It’s expected that more of this group will continue to work. Making it more likely that employers will need to hire from this population. 


Why Hire Older Employees?

As employees progress through their careers they amass significant skills, experience and knowledge. This creates something akin to skills muscle memory, enabling employees to access and flex their expertise at will. 

Ageist employers who overlook older workers for younger employees risk a potential brain drain as mature employees seek more open-minded businesses who are willing to support them. One such employer, well known for their willingness to employ older people, is B&Q.


B&Q – A Case In Point

It’s 20 years since B&Q launched its pioneering age diversity project. The scheme was instigated following feedback from customers who wanted to be served by someone who had lived in their own home and knew something about DIY.

In response, in the late 1980s, B&Q staffed its Macclesfield store solely with over 50s (which of course would be illegal today). Eleven years later, the company worked with Warwick University to benchmark the Macclesfield store against four other B&Q supercentres.

The results were extremely positive and helped validate the business case for an age-diverse workforce:

  • Profits were 18% higher.
  • Staff turnover was six times lower.
  • There was 39% less absenteeism and 58% less shrinkage (reduction in profit due to lack of scheduled staff).
  • There was an improved perception of customer service and an overall increase in the skill base.

Today B&Q continues to employ a workforce that reflects the make-up of the local community, but with an emphasis on employing people over 50. 

To make this approach work for them, B&Q adapted a range of HR poli

cies to ensure older staff were catered for. By offering a range of contract types, flexible working to all employees regardless of age and enabling employees to reduce their hours or take a less physical role, the company has created the conditions for mature workers to thrive.


How Can You Attract and Retain Older Employees?

ONS data shows that nearly nine in 10 people are in work at the age of 50, yet this falls to less than one in two for employees in their mid-60s. With so many highly experienced people who are ready and willing to work, there’s a pool of untapped potential available to your business.

Although you can’t positively discriminate in favour of older workers when it comes to recruitment, you can create employment conditions to make you an even more attractive employer. 

A range of HR policies that cater to older people could include: 

  • Solid health and wellbeing support offering peace of mind to older workers who are often concerned about their health. 
  • Income protection and access to occupational health support and employee assistance plans.
  • Financial education around retirement planning to ensure workers understand the options available to them. 
  • Aligned to HR policies designed to help older workers ease into retirement on their terms.
  • Recognise and make the most of the experience of older workers by pairing them up with less experienced employees.

Position your business in a way that’s attractive to older workers and you’ll become the employer of choice for this demographic. Positioning you to choose the cream of the crop for your business.


Find out whether your business is primed to attract older workers by booking your free HR review with experienced HR consultant Olga Crosse. Call us today on 0330 555 1139 or email us at hello@crossehr.co.uk.


Probation and Notice Periods – What You Need to Know

Probation and Notice Periods – What You Need to Know

Probation period not up yet? Thinking of saying goodbye to a new hire? Then something obviously hasn’t worked out. To ensure their departure goes smoothly, you need to give them the right amount of notice.

But how long should that be when an individual is still in their probation period? And what else do you need to consider? Read on for the answers.

Probation – Not Just For Criminals

Most employers operate a trial period for new employees – also known as a probation period – which can vary from a few days to several weeks or months. The length of probation should be clearly set out in the employee’s contract alongside the employee’s standard notice period.

But what happens if they hand their notice in, or you want them to leave, during their probationary period? Does the standard notice period apply? Or can you legally give less notice and hasten their departure?

It Depends on Length of Service

People with probation periods shorter than one month are not entitled to any notice so you can exit them from your firm immediately.

Of course, notice periods work both ways and employees can notify you of their intent to leave too. Which means you could be left in the lurch if someone leaves within their one-month probation period.

That’s why most organisations stipulate a probation period of three months. This often increases to six months for more senior roles and jobs that are difficult to recruit. By extending the notice period, both employers and employees are protected.

There are two types of notice that employees and employers must give.

Contractual Notice

Contractual notice is the agreed notice period, as set out in the employment contract, that must be given by either side to terminate the arrangement.

You can choose to give more notice than legally required. But of course you cannot give less than the law stipulates.

Typically, contractual notice periods are:

  • Less than one week for staff with under one month’s service
  • One week for people with between one and six months’ service
  • One month for people who have recently passed their probation

These notice periods give both sides a degree of protection and tie in nicely with the following legal minimums.

Statutory Notice

If you don’t include a notice period in your employees’ contracts you have to abide by legally predefined notice periods based on the individual’s length of service:

  • Less than one month’s service > no notice
  • One month to two years’ service > one week’s notice
  • Two years’ service > two week’s notice
  • Three years’ service > three week’s notice

The notice periods increase by one week for every complete year of tenure. So someone with eight years’ service would need to give and be given eight weeks’ notice.

Notice Has Been Served – What Happens Next?

This usually depends on who gave notice and the reasons why.

If an employee gave notice and there’s no problem (like performance issues), you will probably want them to work for the duration. This helps your organisation by keeping work moving and giving you time to recruit.

If you’ve given notice to a member of staff during the probation period, it’s usually because performance or attitude is not up to scratch. Which might mean you don’t want the employee to come in.

In this instance, you will still need to pay them for their notice period and you can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Pay in lieu of notice – you end the employment before the individual serves their notice and pay them as if they had worked their notice period.
  2. Garden leave – the employee serves their notice but doesn’t do any work for your company. This might happen if they are leaving to work for a competitor. Again, they must be paid for the full notice period.

Nobody wants to recruit the wrong person for the role. But occasionally it happens. Protect your business by:

  • checking your contracts of employment
  • paying notice periods as required
  • revisiting your recruitment practices to spot any gaps

If you want help protecting your business from the unexpected, get in touch with Crosse HR.

How is Social Media Impacting Recruitment?

How is Social Media Impacting Recruitment?

Recruitment has been massively influenced by social media. How long do you think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been around? Although it feels like forever, they were only born in 2004, 2006 and 2011 respectively.

In this article, we explore how and take a look at what you can do to exploit social for your business.

A Potted History of Recruitment

Before social media was a glimmer in anyone’s eye, businesses recruited using good old-fashioned methods. Word of mouth and recommendations were standard practice limiting the recruitment pool businesses could cast their net into.

The only chance of finding fresh blood was to advertise in newspapers or pay premiums to recruitment agencies to access details from their hoard of paper CVs.

With the advent of the web, organisations began advertising roles on their websites. This extended their reach well beyond existing networks and opened up vacancies to a wider range of applicants.

In the late nineties, job sites emerged and compiled job listings providing businesses additional places to recruit. Between 1999 and 2000, the job site Monster had 1.2m unique monthly visitors and held 7.2m CVs.

Suddenly, job seekers and recruiters were able to access thousands of new opportunities and candidates around the world.

Which meant candidates could be pickier about what they applied for. Putting pressure on firms to step up their game to attract the best and brightest.

Social Means Even More Choice

As social media came into play, there was a clear demarcation: Twitter and LinkedIn were considered professional tools while Facebook was deemed to be personal.

However, research shows that attitudes are shifting: Twitter is now considered a personal platform even though more businesses have a profile on Twitter (14%) than Facebook (11%).  

With other ‘non-business’ platforms attracting large audiences, businesses are beginning to cultivate a presence on sites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram too. All of which means recruiters have additional avenues and new ways to communicate with potential candidates.

The introduction of social media has resulted in two main changes to recruitment:

  1. Personal profiles are constantly on display making the passive proportion of the market (those who are not actively job-seeking) more available to recruiters.
  2. Social has merged the power of word-of-mouth with the reach of the internet. Giving recruiters, businesses and candidates their greatest opportunity to find exactly the right job or hire.


What This Means for Your Recruitment

Exploiting the recruitment benefits that social can bring relies on understanding what it means for your business. If you’re considering using social to recruit, take a note of these tips.

  • Be Prepared for More CVs

More jobs, more widely-advertised are applied to by more people. Which adds to up to a CV-screening nightmare for small business owners who don’t have a dedicated HR team to support them. In 2017, employers received a median of 24 applicants per low-skilled vacancy and 19 per medium-skilled vacancy. If you don’t have the capacity to sift through this many CVs and covering letters, consider hiring an HR specialist so you only have to read the very best.

  • Make Your Job Ads Stand Out

Increased recruitment competition means job adverts need to be accurate yet enticing to attract the best people. Get the right words on the page and convey what makes your business great to work for to cut through the noise.

  • Provide Competitive Total Reward

When candidates can find another role at the click of a mouse, you need to be able compete. Competitive pay and benefits, a great working culture, flexible working, training and development. It’s all important in attracting candidates and retaining employees. Particularly when you consider that some individuals are probably being contacted multiple times a year by recruiters. Review your package to ensure you’re competitive in comparison to the area you want to recruit from.

  • Control Your Firm’s Online Presence

Managing your firm’s reputation was easy when you only had a website to consider. Now you need to control your presence across a number of different platforms so that future employees see what you want when they check you out.

  • Use Social for Added Candidate Insight

Yes, candidates can and will check your business out. But this works both ways. 11% of firms check social to get a more rounded view of a candidate, mainly at the application and interview stages.

  • Don’t Rely on Social for Diversity and Inclusion

Social has levelled the playing field by aredicating the need for an old boys’ network. However, things aren’t as rosy as you might think. Did you know that 80% of LinkedIn users are caucasian? Rely solely on social media for your recruitment and you could be missing out on diverse talent.

Social media has significantly changed the face of recruitment. Organisations can now source potential candidates from a global recruitment pool that also includes passive candidates.

Businesses who are on the social media front foot have greater opportunity to find the right mix of skills, experience and personality for their vacancies. Those who don’t will miss out.

Get your business on the right side of social media history by contacting Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

Staff Turnover: What It’s Costing Your Business

Staff Turnover: What It’s Costing Your Business

Staff turnover and letters of resignation mean only one thing: more work for you. Managing the notice period and the paperwork, ensuring a proper handover, updating the job description, advertising, interviewing, hiring, training. It’s a lot to do and it’s all on top of your day job.

But your time and effort is just the tip of the iceberg. We set out the full cost of staff turnover to your business.

Time Equals Money

When you’re recruiting you’re not earning. Which is why many businesses decide to outsource their recruitment activities to an HR specialist. But how much does it cost to hire a new employee?

Economic modelling experts Oxford Economics ran the figures and found that replacing an employee who earns £25,000 a year will cost your business, on average, a total of £30,500. This figure varies dependent on sector ranging from £20,113 for retailers to £39,887 for legal firms.

How did they get to these figures? By considering the two main costs involved in recruitment:

1. Logistics
a. Management time spent recruiting, inducting and administering
b. Paying for advertisements
c. Running assessment centres
d. Overtime or temporary employees to cover the work

Depending on the role and the employee’s wage, the logistical costs vary. Replacing someone who earned £25,000 per year would cost on average £5,433; those on higher salaries would cost more.

2. Productivity
a. Inducting a new hire into the organisation
b. Training the new employee
c. Loss of productivity as the new hire gets up to speed

In the retail sector, the lost productivity while a new workers gets up to speed is £25,000 whereas in the legal sector (where the individual’s knowledge is the product) the cost is £35,300.

These numbers are eye-watering. So what can you do to reduce them?

How to Stem the Flow

If you seem to be recruiting more often than you’d like it’s worth assessing your turnover figures and comparing them to industry averages. HR Magazine reported a new high for UK turnover rates of 15.5% in 2016. If yours is above that it could be time for concern.

Before you can take any steps to address your staff turnover you need to understand why people are leaving. Asking them face-to-face may not elicit the most truthful responses; instead set up an anonymous online exit questionnaire to find out what people really think.

Once you know why people are leaving, you can pull together a plan of action to put things right.

The risk of people leaving is not small. While the Independent reports that happiness in work is at an all-time high, almost half of UK workers plan to look for a new job in 2018. What were the most common reasons for leaving?

● poor management – 49%
● low pay – 40%
● feeling undervalued – 49%
● lack of career progression – 30%

The good news is that all of these issues can be resolved by working with a specialist HR consultant.

Not All Staff Turnover is Bad

It’s worth pointing out that in some cases turnover is a good thing.

If you keep losing poor performers, you may have no cause for concern. Under-performance costs your business in terms of low productivity, high absence and additional management time.

Their departure means you have the opportunity to replace them with someone brilliant. Studies have shown that the top one percent of performers generate ten times the average output of their co-workers and the top five percent more than four times the average.

Of course, this relies on getting your recruitment, on-boarding and training spot on which is why it’s worth investing in a specialist recruiter to do the job right first time.

Three Pronged Attack for Staff Turnover

There are three main steps to address staff turnover and limit the cost to your business:

1. Understand why people are leaving and find ways to resolve these challenges.
2. Invest in your recruitment strategy to employ someone who will hit the ground running; this will reduce the £25,000 of lost productivity that accompanies the average new hire.
3. Hire someone who will fit well with your culture; the longer they stay and the more they produce the quicker they offset your hiring costs and start contributing to the bottom line.

Get these three steps right and you’ll stabilise your team and save a lot of money into the bargain.

If you’d like the support of an experienced HR consultant to reduce your turnover and manage your recruitment, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or email at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

Succession Planning – A How to Guide

Succession Planning – A How to Guide

You wouldn’t run a business without insuring your IT equipment. Yet many organisations fail to plan for the vacancy of critical positions. All businesses need to be ready to react to expected and unexpected departures alike and succession planning is a great way to do this.

In this how-to guide, we explore the considerations and practical steps you need to take to secure your business’ most critical resource.

Ready to Respond

Critical roles can be hard to fill. Finding a new CEO or Finance Director will take most firms months, not weeks, and in that timeframe, anything could happen. Succession planning is a great way to insure your business against the risks of operating without key roles or with untrained people filling gaps on a temporary basis.

By identifying those roles that are key to the success of your business and deciding who is best placed to fill each person’s shoes, you can insure your business’ continuity no matter who leaves.

The Succession Planning Process

Good succession plans consider the short, medium and long-term. By identifying immediate replacements and ensuring a pipeline of talent ready to fulfil vacant roles in the years ahead, you’ll be well-placed to respond to any eventuality.

There are a number of key considerations to attend to:

Be strategic – identify the current and future needs of the business based on your company’s vision. This will include not only succession but skills too and should link with your recruitment plan.

For example, an IT firm might want to expand its services to include Virtual Reality yet lacks the skills to deliver this technology. Identifying this gap enables the business to upskill existing employees or attract suitable new recruits.

Identify critical roles – the CEO and their direct reports are always critical but remember to identify lower level roles too. There may be a specialist at a lower grade with skills you couldn’t survive without or a role that’s particularly difficult to recruit for.

Work out timings – while retirement dates are no longer enforceable everyone will stop working at some point. Build estimated retirals into your planning and ensure managers advise of anyone who is thinking about leaving.

Use your data – identify talent by assessing performance reviews or conducting new surveys with managers.

Consider motivation – not all employees want to progress their careers. As part of the appraisal process ensure managers discuss employees’ career aspirations to understand whether it’s worth adding them to a succession plan. If you include them without understanding their career intentions, you could end up with an unexpected gap.

Now You’re Ready to Get Started

Succession planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Creating a simple spreadsheet with the key roles you need to replace will be sufficient. As in the image below, identify who is ready to take over each role, who needs one to three years and five or more years to be ready to step up.

Source: Sigma Assignment Systems


Once you’ve identified any skills and experience gaps in your plan, you need to take action to fill them. This could mean:

  • Developing a training plan for key individuals
  • Exposing potential candidates to more senior colleagues
  • Providing experience of different working practices
  • Involving successors in larger or more strategic projects
  • Ensuring replacements have sound financial knowledge

Depending on your company culture, these meetings can sometimes become combative as managers seek to present one of their team as the next best choice for a particular role.

If you’re running the meeting, be prepared to take a firm but fair hand to resolve any disagreements. Alternatively, you could secure an external facilitator experienced in managing the process.

Succession Planning and Re-evaluation

Succession plans shouldn’t be locked away in a draw. Revisit them regularly to ensure they are still fit for purpose and that the people identified as successors still work for your organisation.

Reviewing the plan every six months is a good rule of thumb unless you work in an industry with high turnover or that regularly reorganises. In these instances, you may need to review your plan quarterly.

Why Bother When You Can Recruit?

Bringing new blood into an organisation can be helpful and even with your succession plan, you will still need to do this. However, it can often be better to look internally to fill a position because it:

  • Creates career opportunities for existing employees
  • Boosts engagement by demonstrating that you are prepared to promote from within
  • Retains knowledge within your organisation and not your competitors’
  • Reduces the time it takes for a new person to get up to speed
  • Minimises the additional recruitment costs associated with hiring more senior roles

Whether you decide to communicate your succession plan to named individuals is up to you. While it can be inspiring for individuals to know that they have been earmarked, it can also be upsetting if plans change and they are no longer designated for succession.

Succession planning is an integral part of business risk management. By aligning your people with your strategy you’ll be prepared for the future. And your plans will give you the comfort of a fall-back position whatever happens.

If you’d like the support of an experienced HR consultant to establish or conduct your succession planning process, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or email at hello@crossehr.co.uk.