January 1, 2021

Succession Planning in the Era of COVID

by Kelly Jasin, Esq. & Bea Wolper, Esq., Emens Wolper Jacobs & Jasin Law Firm

Succession planning has always been an important part of a company’s contingency plan, but in the era of COVID-19, it is now more important than ever. Typically, the succession planning process identifies and trains individuals to assume leadership roles within a company as senior leadership ages or retires. An important part of any succession plan is also planning for the unexpected that may occur prior to your “planned” timing, the disability or death of key leaders.

With shut-downs, quarantines and unexpected illness occurring on a regular basis in 2020, business are forced to be more adaptive and agile. This is a particularly challenging for smaller businesses where the CEO is also the HR department, CFO, AR and sales leader. If that person falls ill or is forced into quarantine, how will the business continue to operate? Here are some policies to consider implementing today:

Integrate Remote Workstations. Make sure all employees have remote access to the tools they need to operate at full capacity remotely. If your office has not yet fully integrated into a digital platform, now is the perfect time!

Cross Train Employees. There should be no vital task to your business that only one person is trained on. All tasks necessary for the day-to-day operation of your business should have multiple employees trained on how to complete, preferably in different departments in case one department is required to quarantine.

Deepen Relationships. Key relationships to your business should have multiple contact points they know and feel comfortable working with. Take this opportunity to introduce team members to clients, referral sources, and vendors to deepen the relationship with your business.

Start Thinking Long Term. If you have not already, now is the time to start considering the plan for the future of your business. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that no one is invincible. Even if you have no current plans to retire, make sure your corporate structure and estate plan provide for the long term succession of your business, and start integrating some of the tips above to ensure the business can continue in the event of your unplanned absence. Every business should adopt an Emergency Plan for the running of the company!


There should be no vital task to your business that only one person is trained on.