8 Step Process to Develop a Succession Plan

succession planning

In order to develop a succession plan involves defining the plan’s goals and objectives, identifying key positions and individuals, assessing current employees, creating job descriptions, developing development plans for potential successors, communicating the plan to relevant parties, implementing the plan, and continuously monitoring and adjusting it as necessary. This process aims to ensure the long-term success of the business by preparing and developing potential successors for key positions in the organization.

Sheu Quen is a seasoned writer with a passion for talent management in the HR industry. With 8 years of experience in the field, she’s gained extensive knowledge in developing related content. Through her writing, she aims to share insights and best practices on how organisations can attract, retain, and develop their talent for sustainable growth.


A succession plan is the blueprint of an organization’s people strategy. And if it is aligned with the company’s growth and business plans it can have many benefits for the organization.

Some of the benefits of a well-made succession plan are:

  1. It helps create a trained talent pool, thus ensuring that critical positions are not affected due to sudden vacancies or due to a lack of the right candidate.
  2. succession plan communicates to employees that the company cares about their growth and has plans for their career progression, thus motivating them to perform better. And it can also help reduce employee turnover.
  3. It lowers hiring costs.
  4. Succession plans help reduce incidents of wrong hires.
  5. Succession plans can be used to formulate employee training and development programs.

How to Develop a Strong Succession Plan?

Every organization has its own people requirements and business needs. Thus, each organization has to develop its process of creating a succession plan. However, certain basic steps form the foundation of all succession plans. And, if you’re working on developing a succession plan for your company, you can start with these steps and form a plan that best aligns with your organization’s objectives.

1. Align the Top Management

The involvement of the top management is crucial for creating and implementing a succession plan. If the senior management gives a go-ahead, the rest of the employees down the hierarchy will adhere to it and participate in it as required.

2. Create a Special Task Force

While succession planning is a part of the HR department, you need to choose people within the team who understand business requirements, ability to identify talent, have good communication skills, have trustworthy personalities and have good relationships within the organization. People with these skills will be able to get the senior management’s approval for the succession plan, understand the organization’s people and business requirements, and implement the succession plan with ease.

3. Decide the Scope of Succession Plans

All the positions in an organization do not need to be a part of the succession plan. Hence before setting out to create a succession plan, it is necessary to identify the critical roles, understand their skill requirements, and figure out if there is a need to include them in the succession plan.

Succession Planning Process
A succession plan is the blueprint of an organization’s people strategy.

4. Define the Objectives of the Succession Plan

Succession plans need to have a clear objective or goal. This ensures that the organization’s resources spent in formulating and implementing the succession plan are not wasted. Some of the common objectives of a succession plan can be:

  • A succession plan can be made specifically for finding successors for C-suite positions such as CEO, CFO, and Heads of different departments.
  • succession plan can be created to find the right future fit for middle-level leadership and managerial positions.
  • A succession plan can be made for future talent needs based on the company’s growth and expansion plans or to accommodate changing market scenarios.
  • A succession plan can be created especially to find replacements for retiring board members or to fill in new positions.
To ensure the organisation's resources are not wasted, succession plans need to have a clear objective.

5. Assess the Available Talent

One of the main objectives of a succession plan is to identify possible successors for critical positions within the organization. So, once you know the objectives of the succession plan and have the list of critical positions ready, the next stage would be to assess the in-house talent. Understand if you have the kind of people you need to fill in critical positions if they become vacant in the future. Find out if these people are ready to take over immediately should the need arise. Find out if they need training or need to undertake some courses for upskilling.

6 Identify Sources of Hiring External Talent

As much as we may want to find talent in-house, sometimes we just don’t find the right fit. Hence it is important to explore external sources such as professional networks, social media channels, industry bodies and associations, head hunters, industry networking events, employee references, and regular sources such as job sites and colleges.

While some people you meet at industry networking events or connect with on professional networks may not be looking for an immediate change, they may be open to discussing opportunities in the future, hence it is useful to make note of these connections in the succession plan.

7. Make the Blueprint of the Organization

Once you have all the above information ready, create an organisational chart. Highlight who is currently holding the different positions in the company. List out the names of the people whom you expect to promote should a vacancy arise in any of the critical job roles. Also, build in any new positions that you may want to create in the organization and list down the people requirements for these roles. This blueprint will form the foundation of your succession plan.

You can note down the changes and revisions here as you formulate your succession plan. It will provide you with an overview of how your organization will look when you implement your succession plan.

8. Periodically Review and Revise the Succession Plan

Periodically review and revise your succession plan. Check if all the changes that you have planned are still viable and can be implemented when the need arises.

Apart from conducting periodic reviews, you also need to revisit your succession plan when a selected successor leaves the organization or when a potential new talent joins. When a future successor leaves, you need to reassess the shortlisted candidates and select another candidate. When a new person joins, you should revisit the succession plan to see if the new employee would be a good fit for any of the critical positions in the future and include them in the list of potential successors.

In conclusion

Succession plans are dynamic and need consistent monitoring and assessment. We at Accendo understand just how critical succession planning is for your organization’s and your employee’s success. That is why we’ve digitized and simplified the process. Get in touch with our team to know more about Accendo’s Succession Planning Software and how it can help you build a strong succession plan.

Related queries

A succession planning framework is a structured approach to succession planning that outlines the steps, processes, and tools used to identify, develop, and retain key employees within an organization. It is a systematic approach to identifying and developing future leaders within an organization, ensuring continuity and stability in key positions, and reducing the risk of talent shortages.

A succession planning toolkit is a set of tools and resources designed to support an organization’s succession planning efforts. The toolkit typically includes templates, guides, checklists, and other materials that can help HR professionals and managers to implement a structured and effective succession planning process. It can be a valuable resource for organizations looking to develop and implement a succession plan, by providing the tools and resources necessary to ensure a structured and effective process.

A succession planning model is a theoretical framework that outlines the steps and principles involved in implementing an effective succession plan. A model can be used as a guide to help organizations develop and implement a structured approach to succession planning, which can improve the likelihood of success.

It involves assessing an employee’s potential and performance, and plotting them on a grid with nine boxes. The nine boxes represent a combination of performance and potential ratings, with high performers and high-potential employees placed in the top right box. Employees with low performance and low potential are placed in the bottom left box. The model helps organizations identify employees with the potential to take on key roles in the future, and prioritize development opportunities for them.


Page Contents

Comments are closed.