Most businesses want long term success and sustainability. To achieve this, you need to have key leadership positions filled and effective plans in place if those essential employees leave, for whatever reason, in the future.

When leaders leave the business, if there is an extended amount of time before a new person is appointed, either internally or externally, it can cause operational issues. External recruitment is a costly exercise and a huge diversion of resources especially if there are internal options are available.

With a plan in place, businesses can replace critical roles quickly and successfully, minimising disruption to the operation and management of the organisation.

The process for succession planning is to:

Identify critical positions

The first step is to decide which roles are critical for the efficient running of the business. These can include Director roles, Senior Management and other key managerial positions.

Recognise potential employees for management roles

Develop a system to identify and access potential employees who could take these roles on. The assessment will include evaluating their skills, competencies, performance, leadership capabilities and potential for development.

Development and training

Once the employees are identified, their personal training can be bespoke in line with their individual training needs. This could include mentoring, coaching, and other developmental opportunities such as job swaps and shadowing.

Implementing and reviewing a succession plan

The business’ leadership team needs to work together to establish and implement the plan. This plan will be part of the overall business strategy and is not done in isolation. It states what tasks need to be carried out with timelines for the development of the employees and how to move them into key roles in the future.

As with all strategy plans, they need to be reviewed and updated within the ever changing environment that businesses operate in. Plus employees’ performance levels and goals can change and may go in a different direction, so the plan will need to be adjusted to ensure it stays effective.


Communication is a key element of succession planning. Discussions need to be held with relevant employees about their career path, and the development opportunities with the business. Company wide all leaders and employees need to understand the business commitment to succession planning as this will encourage them for the future.

Succession planning aids the business to become a learning culture and gives them a competitive edge in the recruitment market. For employees it enhances their morale and loyalty to the business and therefore decreases staff turnover.

For further advice and information about succession planning please contact HR2HELP at or call 01753 889995.

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