What is Succession Planning?

Posted on February 01, 2019 at 09:27 AM

talent-review-meeting-500px-1Succession planning focuses on identifying and growing talent to fill talent leadership and business-critical positions in the future. [CIPD]

Succession planning is about identifying the critical posts in your organisation, creating a talent pool of key talent and then managing this group, reviewing regularly and as vacancies arise.

By defining a succession planning strategy and creating a succession planning model for your organisation, you'll be minimising the risk caused by unplanned vacancies and your strong talent will see career progression mapped out before them. Undoubtedly, there are a number of benefits of succession planning.

If you want to get started with succession planning, you'll need to bear in mind the key components and the essential steps for succession planning. 

You will need to decide on which are your critical positions. You’ll also need to identify who in your organisation is considered to have the potential to progress (that is, the high potentials or HiPos) further in their career with you. You'll then create a talent pool of this talent and then manage and review these people in a talent review board or succession planning meeting.

As a first step you need to consider the model or approach you'll take - and the succession planning template that you want to use. In the past these templates have been spreadsheet-based - but are now more commonly built into cloud-based, succession planning software. This too has the advantage of helping to make sure the talent data or talent profiles and well as the planned successor information is more accurate and up-to-date.

Such software tools collate the details of those critical positions identified by the business and the names of people who could take over – sometimes with a timeframe allocated. They also flag up the support needed for that individual to achieve the next role. 

You’ll make use of a 9 Box Grid - also known as the Performance/Potential Grid. This is an invaluable tool that lets you to plot talent into one of nine boxes measuring potential and performance. The top right box is the most valuable position (high in performance and potential). 

With succession planning software to support you, you will be able to draw together key talent data and report on it in different ways. It will help you to structure, inform and manage succession planning. It usually includes analytics and charts – but you need to check. 

If you are looking to introduce robust succession planning, then our eBook – The Ultimate Guide to Succession Planning – offers further guidance on how to build an effective succession planning process into your organisation.

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