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How to do Succession Planning from an Executive Standpoint

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Hi current students and future business leaders of America!

As a graduating senior and future alumnus, I wanted to share my experience with other students about how to do succession planning from an executive standpoint. Succession planning refers to the process of preparing materials and coming up with advice to ensure that there is a smooth transition for the new employee that is taking over your spot. This may be because you may become a former employee for the company and seek new career ventures or because you are being promoted to a higher position in the workplace. 

I am a part of the Executive Board for the UC Davis Student Foundation, also known as Aggies Helping Aggies (AHA). The Executive Board members are committee chairs, the President, and the staff advisors connected to Development and Alumni Relations (DEVAR). The goal of our foundation is to promote philanthropy culture on the UCD campus among students, faculty, alumni, parents, and even connections of connections. AHA is accepting applications for student trustees for the 2024-2025 school year

This is a great networking opportunity and a way to build your experience in the business field, as leadership, management, marketing, event planning, career development counseling, and managing financial budgets through HRI systems are very in-demand skills. In fact, I got accepted into my HR internship program through mainly talking about the experience that I built up from Aggies Helping Aggies. For those that joined AHA in their underclassman years, this is the best way to cultivate relationships among other students both professionally and develop friendships. You can also get advice from working professionals, as the staff advisors have many connections and life advice that they can give you. 

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Source: Aggies Helping Aggies Instagram

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Source: Aggies Helping Aggies Instagram

Now, that I have explained what AHA is about and the benefits of AHA, I will explain how to do succession planning:

1: Begin Writing a Succession Letter

You want to create a feeling of fulfillment and completeness before leaving your organization, especially for a business organization that involves a lot of fundraising, budgeting, planning, and management. This is why it is important to sound approachable, friendly, and familiar with the person that you are writing your succession letter to. This is a good starting point to help them prepare for the business world, especially since there are a lot of person-to-person interactions and group work involved. After you have assured them and sound confident about their ability to succeed, you can continue with providing your contact information and the contact information of your staff advisors. This will ensure that they know where to reach out to when they are stuck.

2: Provide Resources

To me, providing resources means that I can provide links to past committee meeting documents. This allows for the future chair to get an overview of bigger events that will occur during the next school year beforehand. This could be about a major tabling event or even about a crowdfunding campaign. You should also provide links to past recorded meetings, as this will help them give an overview of how they can conduct meetings. Just meeting notes may not be enough. Make sure to provide an agenda or calendar list in order of what typically goes on in your committee. For instance, I know that in my committee, we plan for the fall quarter Student Emergency Relief Aid campaign during the October crowdfunding campaign cohort. We also work with the Senior Class Challenge, now through April’s Grad Fair event, around the same time as Give Day. Providing these necessary prospective dates or time periods will allow them to know what to expect. People that are more than prepared will feel better about taking on a leadership role. I also provided sample documents of the general overview of each committee role. I also made sure to provide the link to all of this year’s committee meeting notes, compiled in one document. 

3: Meet With Them at Least One Last Time

This should be a one-on-one meeting, especially because it will allow them to express their concerns and connect with you at a deeper level. You want to build that bond of trust to allow the future committee chair of the organization to succeed. Make sure that there is also an onboarding email template that they can also use for future members that join their organization. For some people, they may struggle with understanding how to help new members adjust to an organization, even if they have a relatively good understanding about how to assign tasks and report findings to current members. Remind them that they could even get a recommendation letter from you since technically, a student in a leadership position is still considered a supervisor or boss. 

This is the basic overview of succession planning. If anyone else has any other suggestions, feel free to let any student organization you are a part of know. Remember, communication is the number one key skill that employers look for! :)

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Source: Aggies Helping Aggies Instagram

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Source: Aggies Helping Aggies Instagram

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren, and I am a native of NorCal. I am a fourth year Human Development major and Public Health Sciences minor. My interests are: trying new foods, trying different types of workouts and wellness routines, discovering new books/movies/tv shows, getting to know new people, and volunteering for nonprofit organizations. I enjoy doing things that allow me to explore something I haven't tried before and express my creativity, as life is an adventure to explore and broaden your horizons. I chose to join HerCampus in the UCD chapter in Winter Quarter 2024. This was because a friend from SJSU told me that this organization has positively changed her outlook on life. I also want to get involved in more organizations that empower women and allow them to have a strong voice. The most favorite thing for me to do is write content about important news, which is why I chose to join HerCampus. I am excited to meet everyone, both within and outside of my chapter!