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examples of succession planning in companies

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3 succession planning examples and best practices.

Every organization can expect to deal with leadership changes, especially given that we’re seeing a record number of CEO turnovers this year. 

But, without the right approach in place, leadership transitions can put companies in a vulnerable position – from stock prices taking roller-coaster rides to employees feeling anxious about the ongoing changes. 

That’s why it’s critical to have a thoughtful succession plan in place. 

In this post, we’ll provide best practices to keep in mind for succession planning and share examples of successful leadership transitions. 

3 best practices for developing a succession plan

A seamless leadership transition doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why a key part of succession planning is being able to think ahead at least three to five years. Here are four best practices to help you stay ahead of the curve. 

1. Cultivate a pipeline of talent 

Building a high-quality talent pipeline is a challenging and time-consuming process. In fact, 74% of public and 52% of private companies reported that maintaining a robust talent pipeline is the most difficult aspect of CEO succession planning. 

Unfortunately, the pipeline is something that many HR teams tend to neglect. 40% of companies report not having a single internal candidate to replace the CEO should he or she exit the position. This puts the company in a vulnerable position and will ultimately cost the company in several ways, from paying for executive search costs to seeing turnover amongst high-potential employees (HiPos) who feel overlooked when they’re not considered for leadership positions.

That’s why, even though you might not have any open positions now, it’s important to start cultivating that pipeline today. This means accurately identifying who your HiPos are and making sure you’re constantly adding new candidates into the mix. 

Want to learn how to identify, retain, and develop the HiPos in your organization?

Check out our ebook . 

examples of succession planning in companies

2. Invest in the ongoing development of leaders 

Simply having a pipeline isn’t enough for succession planning. Companies also need to invest in the leaders they’ve identified and make sure they’re prepared for executive roles when they become available. In practice, this means helping HiPos develop relevant leadership skills, align with the company culture, and have opportunities to be exposed to various roles and responsibilities.  

On the surface, companies invest a lot of resources in training their leaders. A Training Industry study found that organizations around the world spend $370 billion per year on leadership development . Yet 74% of executives were not prepared for the challenges they faced in senior leadership roles. This indicates a gap between the type of training that’s being provided and the intended effectiveness. 

We’ve found that one of the best ways to invest in the growth and development of these leaders is to offer mentoring and leadership coaching programs. Not only are mentoring and coaching the two most unmet needs of HiPos , but we’ve also found within our own dataset that 92% of mentees report improved confidence in handling challenges and increased skills for the job . Similarly, the International Coach Federation also reports that 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment in coaching and more .

3. Regularly monitor and assess your leadership bench 

Organizations and people are constantly evolving. That’s why it’s necessary to regularly monitor and assess your leaders. This process ensures the HiPos leaders in your pipeline are still aligned with the needs of your company. It can also help you identify any new or rising HiPo leaders you may have missed in your initial assessment. 

For example, you may have identified a promising HiPo leader in your talent pipeline. But, after a few years at your organization, it’s evident that they’re not growing in the direction that you anticipated. Without regularly assessing this individual’s performance, you wouldn’t be able to identify that they’re no longer a good fit for the executive position they were originally being considered for. And you may be passing up a better fit for the role in the process. 

3 succession planning examples 

Given the public nature of leadership transitions, we’ve seen many succession plans in action. While not all of them go as smoothly as anticipated, some companies do an excellent job of putting the best practices we outlined above into practice. 

McCormick & Co.

In 2008, spice and flavorings giant McCormick & Co. transitioned its CEO position from Robert Lawless to his successor Alan Wilson using a succession model that was praised for being thoughtful, comprehensive, and well-executed. Lawless made a point of establishing a transparent timeline of five years, planning his transition to a non-executive chairman of the board role. He also tied part of his discretionary compensation to succession planning, proving his investment in finding and preparing the right person. 

What McCormick & Co. did right:

Virginia Rometty’s succession as CEO of IBM in 2012 is also a case of internal succession planning done well. Rometty’s advancement worked well because of her cultural fit, and because of the professional development systems that allowed her to succeed based on merit and become IBM’s first female CEO. HR analyst Josh Bersin said of Rometty’s appointment: “IBM’s talent management process is very mature, integrated, and global. At the executive level, the company takes development planning and succession very seriously.” 

What IBM did right:

Barneys New York 

Luxury retailer Barneys New York went through a long-planned change as Daniella Vitale stepped into the CEO role in 2017, replacing her predecessor and mentor Mark Lee. With her long tenure in the high-end fashion retail industry, Vitale was considered “uniquely qualified” to run Barneys. She worked as an assistant buyer while still in school at LIM College and moved her way up through lateral moves between major brands, including Ferragamo, Armani, and Gucci, before joining Barneys in 2010 as a Chief Merchant.

What Barneys New York did right:

Succession planning is a long and laborious process. But done right – by cultivating a high-quality talent pipeline, developing your HiPo leaders, and regularly assessing fit – it can make an otherwise stressful transition much smoother. Want to learn more about how to identify and develop the HiPos in your organization? Download our ebook here . 

examples of succession planning in companies

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Succession planning can feel overwhelming at times. Especially if it’s something new for your company. Although it takes more time in the beginning, it’s ultimately a process that can save you time and money.

Before we start talking through different examples of succession planning done right, let’s go over a basic review of succession planning.

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is a process through which an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. In this process, you ensure that you will never have a key role open for which another employee is not prepared.

In other words, succession planning makes sure someone can take a role when the position opens up due to promotion or unexpected events. This a crucial strategy that is important to all employees, but especially with leadership and top management positions.

Here’s how other companies have benefitted from succession planning:

A few years back the tech pioneer, IBM, had an excellent example of internal succession planning done right. At the time, IBM announced that the current SVP, Virginia Rometty, would be taking over as the company’s first female CEO when Samuel J. Palmisano retires. This replacement wasn’t due to an embarrassing mistake or shaky numbers, but rather it was a smooth transition when Palmisano and the company were performing at the top of their game.

Rometty began at IBM back in 1981 and has stayed with IBM since. She has grown and climbed the ranks to SVP and Group Executive for Sales, Marketing and Strategy before getting offered the role of CEO. Through proper planning, Rometty worked her way from an entry-level job at the company and proved herself to the board.

Although Rometty herself was key in this promotion, IBM did an excellent job making sure the growth structure pathway was put in place. They did this by:

The announcement took place in October, and the transition had most likely started before the news was made public. This is the right way to hand off a position and prepare for an exit over time. Instead of rushing the transition in a two week period, the team built a plan that fit the position. For a CEO position, a transition might take longer because of increased responsibilities. Giving time for the proper transition allows the board and company to know if this is the right fit and gives the successor time to feel confident in their new position, ask questions, learn new skills, and manage the workload.

The company could have chosen a leader based on qualities of their current leader–a common practice in succession planning. However, IBM chose their new leader based on merits and looked internally at candidates as well. This demonstrates an understanding of transparency that supports and adds to the robust company culture they have in place.

Before he stepped down as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs prepared his succession plan in the form of Apple University. Founded in 2008, Apple University has a leadership curriculum with content and materials based off of Job’s experiences. Its purpose is to “teach Apple employees how to think like Steve Jobs and make decisions that he would make.”

This digital curriculum is a great example of how technology can be used to prepare a company’s leadership succession.

Besides Apple University, Steve Jobs was also working hard to prepare Tim Cook for the position of CEO. Cook took on a variety of different operational roles including manufacturing, distribution, sales, and supply chain management before working directly with Jobs to gain experience in the CEO role.

In his resignation letter , Steve Jobs wrote, “As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.”

In a recent interview, Tim Cook shared his view on succession planning saying, “I see my role as CEO to prepare as many people as I can to be CEO, and that’s what I’m doing. And then the board makes a decision at that point in time.”

Apple has seen the importance of having a proper succession plan in place to ensure that there are no problems when it comes to leadership in the company.

Barneys New York

In February 2017, the luxury retailer named Daniella Vitale the new CEO . She had previously held the title of COO. Her predecessor Mark Lee announced, “It’s time to turn the day-to-day management over to Daniella, who has long been my planned successor and is uniquely qualified to take the leadership reins.”

Vitale had worked under Lee before Barneys at Gucci. She had over eleven years of experience with Gucci before she crossed over and joined Barneys as a Chief Merchant. Mark Lee had a key role in developing Vitale’s growth pathway and ensuring each step progressed toward her eventual role as CEO.

This approach to succession planning proved advantageous when Lee passed the reins. By the time Vitale was offered the position, she already had plenty of experience as a leader within the company, had worked in several different departments, and was the COO overseeing all departments. The plan took place over the course of five years. Barneys and Lee took time to ensure employees prepare, adjust, and learn the skills necessary for the role.

How finding the right Software can help

Companies who choose leaders from inside the company report a 70-80 percent success rate , and the latest HR software can make tracking and training new leaders easier than ever. These tools give companies the power to develop a well-fitting growth and leadership plan for each individual employee.

As employees progress, update their digital profiles and adjust career pathways to fit both employee and company needs. Management and company decision-makers should have access to employee growth information to simplify the entire process.

best hr software

These are just a few examples of how to do succession planning well. These companies were thoughtful, strategic, and set their plans with intention. They gathered candidates with the right amount of experience, built their resumes, and invested in the employees. These plans also required willing and helpful leaders who stepped back to mentor and prepare to exit.

Leaders at any company can apply these lessons to their business. Succession planning can help maintain growth and stability as well as encourage retention and promotion from within.

Does your company have a succession plan in place? Have employees been placed on pathways?

— Alexis is a creative enthusiast. She has worn many different hats throughout her career. She started by working in advertising at agencies such as Ogilvy and Mather in NYC, FCB Global Los Angeles and also worked with several freelance client accounts as an Art Director and Creative Strategist. She then ran all Social Media and Content Strategy for Asia’s largest health and wellness company, Sunrider. Today, she runs all marketing efforts for ProSky , an upcoming disruptor in HR Tech.

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What Is Succession Planning? (With Examples)

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6 Steps for How to Create a Succession Plan

Tips for creating an effective succession plan, the importance of succession planning, the benefits of succession planning, succession planning faq.

Summary. Succession planning is the process of identifying the important positions within a company and identifying individuals who can step into those positions if they ever become vacant. To have a successful succession plan, it’s important to know your employees skills and qualifications to help identify top talent for those important positions. No employee stays in a single role forever, and in order to be successful, companies need to be ready to handle transitions in leadership. Succession planning is one of the best ways to do this, and in this article, we’ll talk about what succession planning is, how to do it, and the benefits of having a succession plan. Key Takeaways Succession planning ensures that every leadership role in a company has someone ready to step in when the current leader leaves. Succession planning requires understanding the company’s values and key leadership positions, identifying its high-performing employees, and developing its next generation of leaders. Succession planning makes personnel transitions easier and cheaper and improves employee morale. What Is Succession Planning?

Succession planning is a process of long-haul internal recruitment for leadership roles that gradually open up down the line. For every position within the company, there is another individual in mind who could step into their role and be successful.

Companies use succession planning to avoid a situation where important functions are left undone because there’s nobody to do the job.

Being prepared ahead of time for the possibility that an employee resigns from their role for any reason eases the burden of handling it at a moment’s notice. As with any other part of professional life, preparation can only help.

To help create your succession planning process, here are 6 steps to get you started:

Understand the values of the company. The company values must first be outlined to identify employees that would make good leaders in the future. The qualities that a business holds close are the types of characteristics they should look for in a successor.

Define the key leadership positions within the company. Once a company’s core values and systems have been established, the next step in creating a succession plan is deciding which positions are the most crucial to functioning.

Develop a barometer of employee performance. Creating a measurement for impressive employee performance helps to calculate who is showing the most potential for future leadership roles. The barometer for success may differ between industries.

For example, in a sales position, a successful employee could be deemed from the amount of money they’ve brought in. Alternatively, a customer service representative might be evaluated based on the amount of positive client feedback they receive.

Identify top talent. With a way to determine which employees are excelling, it becomes simple to identify the top talent within the company.

Assist in leadership development for the next generation. The final step to set the beginnings of succession planning in motion is working with the high-potential employees to assist in career development.

Reevaluate over time. An individual could seem like they’d be the perfect successor for a leadership role in an organization initially, but that might not continue to be the case over time.

Get to know employees well. The basis of effective succession planning is identifying which employees would fit the best in a particular high-ranking role. The only way to choose the right person for a crucial leadership job is to get to know each and every employee well.

Invest in training for promising employees. After a few candidates with a high potential for leadership roles in the future have been identified, offer development opportunities to help them get ready for the task.

Communicate with potential employees when considering them for leadership. Once potential successors have been identified for a position that’s soon opening up, it’s important to communicate this interest with the employee that’s being strongly considered.

Embrace mentoring. There’s nobody who knows the ins and outs of a high-stakes position like the person who has been working in it for years.

Pay attention to diversity. Succession planning is a great opportunity to diversify your company’s work environment. By identifying talented, qualified people who come from a variety of backgrounds to take part in your succession plan, you’ll set up your company for success in the long run.

Don’t rush it. The process of building up an effective succession plan doesn’t happen overnight. It could take years before ideal successors are identified and prepared to take on a new role.

Be flexible. There is no singular way to create an effective succession plan. It works a little differently for every unique business and industry. With this in mind, it’s important to be flexible during every stage of the succession process. There is always the potential for even long-term plans to change.

When a company is unequipped to handle a vacancy on their staff, it costs them loads of money, time, and collective stress . Failing to take into consideration the loss of staff in positions of power and evaluate the potential of lower-ranking employees leaves a company scrambling when they’re put in the situation.

Succession planning is sometimes easy to predict, such as with employees who are nearing the retirement age . In the final years of an older employee’s service, their employer thinks ahead to start arranging for their termination.

Another reason that succession planning is an important part of a business’s long-term vision is that it identifies high-performing employees who could make excellent future leaders.

Focusing on detecting successors demonstrates to staff that there is room for growth within the company and motivates them to work towards this outcome.

Recognizing talented employees early on makes for easier transitions when an unexpected departure takes place.

Engaging in effective succession planning provides advantages for both the employer and employees. Below are some of the benefits of succession planning:

Avoids difficulties during unexpected departures. The stress can be felt by every member of an organization when an unexpected loss of an important team member occurs. It’s palpable.

Decreases the time of having a missing spot on the team. A company that doesn’t take time to consider its current talent pool ahead of time is likely to face a persistent hole in its workforce.

Reduces hiring expenses. As opposed to searching for candidates externally, looking into a company’s current staff dramatically reduces hiring expenses .

Provides career development for high-potential employees. The most skilled employees look for a professional environment where they can grow. They want to devote their time and energy to a position that’s going to further their career.

Improves employee satisfaction and retention. Every time an employee decides to pick up and leave because they’re not satisfied with their job , it costs their employer a boatload of money in finding their replacement. One way to effectively improve employee retention is by increasing their satisfaction.

Reassures company shareholders. When a company goes through a transition in leadership, shareholders often sell their stock in the company. However, this is less likely to happen when the new leader has been well-trained and is already respected when they move into their new role.

What is a challenge to succession planning?

A challenge to succession planning is choosing the wrong person. Choosing the wrong candidate or a bad person for the job can cause some challenges for succession. If your succession planning process has some hiccups or is not a good plan, a leader might choose a less qualified candidate for the position. Having the wrong person in the position can hurt the company in the future. Make sure your succession planning is solid to help avoid this challenge.

What causes succession planning to fail?

Succession planning can fail if there is a lack of insight and understanding into the skills of your employees. Without knowing your employees and who has the skills can cause the wrong person to be put into a position they are not qualified for. This will also help avoid any biases when choosing the right employee.

What happens when there is no succession plan?

When there is no succession plan, it can cause employees to compete for the position and cause conflict among them. When employees are competing for a position, there can often lead to power struggles to take the vacant position. When there is conflict among two or more employees because of a promotion or vacant position, it can create a negative work environment which can cause everyone in the office to suffer because of it.

Why should I create a succession plan?

You should create a succession plan because it allows for a seamless transition of staff. Having a succession plan allows for staff to get promoted into the new position without any conflict. The employee will also be more prepared to take the position and it can happen without any extra training than what is required.

University of Washington – Succession Planning

USGS.gov – Succession Planning Desk Guide

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Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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Top 10 Succession Plan Example Templates with Samples

Top 10 Succession Plan Example Templates with Samples

Kavesh Malhotra


The  succession planning process   involves identifying critical positions within your company and developing processes and action plans to fill those positions. By adopting a comprehensive approach to both present and future objectives, this type of planning ensures you have the right people doing the right jobs, both now, and in the foreseeable future (at least five years or more).

By engaging in long-term succession planning, organizations can increase their competence and market relevance. The uncertainty of business environment or political vacuums are not unduly worrying for firms that have a firm succession planning process in place. This happens as there is no time lag in continuity at the top; such businesses have already documented and developed ways to map personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge to the critical job positions and roles to ensure business continuity.

An analogy to business succession planning is observed in the field of sports or even in politics (to a degree).

If a star player or a captain retires, the team cannot be allowed to fall off the cliff of high-performance; the wins have to keep rolling in, hence the need for an equally competent successor, without delay or hesitation. This is why organizations use succession planning to ensure they are prepared for the future.

Succession planning emphasizes leadership development, which can take time and money, but it is always wise to develop bench players, as well, to step up and take on a more critical role in the future.

There should be a succession strategy in place for every firm. Succession planning is a must for three scenarios. These are:

1. Technical leadership roles

If you must fill a leadership role requiring technical abilities, replacing a technician with years of experience in specialized software can be challenging. To plug this eventuality, include a buffer in the recruiting process to ensure the right candidate can be trained and developed.

2. Senior executive roles

As senior executives approach retirement, succession planning is critical. The earliest possible start to this process is necessary to find and train the ideal applicant for the job, again a process that takes years.

3. Family-owned businesses

It is essential to have a documented succession plan for your family-owned company rather than relying on informal or verbal succession arrangements.

With this primer on how to ensure you have no business uncertainty as to the future in terms of the top guys, here’s SlideTeam’s top 10 succession plan example templates to help you ensure you can offer the best solutions to your clients, the top management if you work as HR head, or a business owner.

These templates are 100% editable and customizable, but the given framework is an apt fit for all your needs. Just key in your own data and the job is half-done. Now, just find the right guy and add to the template.

Let’s explore these best-in-class now.

Template 1: Business Succession Planning PowerPoint Presentation Slides

This PPT Template allows you to incorporate and understand aspects, such as critical position, planning metrics, employee competency, risk of loss, and many more. Use this talent and career planning presentation template to ensure stakeholders realize the importance of succession planning. Also, brand yourself as a clear leader in resolving obstacles to succession and career planning with the deployment of this template.

Business Succession Planning

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Template 2: Succession Planning PowerPoint Presentation Slides

Use this template to plan your talent needs, budget, and the potential to develop new skills. Make strong and purposeful succession planning to identify management needs of your business and lead it to success. Download this impactful template to understand the areas where you need to step in to ensure smoother succession planning and clear impediments to it.

Succession Planning

Template 3: High Potential Employee Succession Planning PPT Presentation Slides

Create a report for every working individual to analyze their performance using this high-potential succession planning template. Incorporate visuals to demonstrate ways to create career opportunities and raise your company's productivity. Download this template now and get an outstanding succession planning PPT, complete in all respects. Alongside, for planning best talent management, click on our SlideTeam’s blog featuring the best talent management templates .

High Potential Employees Succession Planning

Template 4: Customer Success Playbook Succession Planning Grid to assess employees

Use this outstanding succession planning PPT presentation template to assess your employees’ performance. The aim is to see who can fit in the bill for that steep move up the ladder, when needed.  A sit-in through this presentation helps employers understand which employees need improvements and in what areas. Download it now to generate better performance and motivate employees.

Succession Planning Grid to Assess Employee Potential and Performance

Template 5: Succession Planning Process PPT Sample Presentation

Want to create a perfect succession plan? Download this Succession planning Process PPT Sample Template to generate a step-by-step plan. Demonstrate the level of competition and success at levels such as business platforms and strategy consulting. The aim is to ensure that the mapping of the personnel to the job role is perfect, and is akin to a round peg in a round hole, and so on.

Succession Planning Process PPT Sample Presentations

Template 6: Succession Planning Template PPT Sample Download

If you plan to pass the leadership to another employee or a group of employees, you need to have a well-defined, clear structural guideline manual in place. Using this template, you can provide details on what job roles or responsibilities a particular employee will take over, when, and how much time the transition will take. Download this template now and create that perfect and strategic succession planning. Use this template to also showcase your preparedness for succession planning, as this actionable presentation divides potential candidates into UP-NEXT, ON-DECK and HI-POTENTIALS.

Succession Planning Template

Template 7: Succession Planning Process PPT Model

With this Succession Planning Process PPT Model, you can aim at creating continued smooth leadership for your organization, and it includes key aspects of replacement planning. Download now to help your company stay ahead, with crystal-clear processes on the leadership issue.

Succession Planning Process PPT Model

Template 8: Succession Planning PPT Presentation Examples

Use this Succession Planning PPT Presentation to improve your business model. This template allows you to identify the ideal leader for your organization to meet target goals. The USP here is the team-wise segmentation that this design provides. Download and get going with this extraordinary template.

Succession Planning Template 1

Template 9: Integrated Talent Management Process with Succession Planning

Create the perfect succession plan using this PPT Template, which gives you the design to do this, completely and successfully, in seven process stages. Using this presentation template, highlight talent strategy & planning, leadership development, performance management, and other vital aspects. Download now and take full advantage of this template.

Integrated Talent Management Process with Succession Planning

Template 10: Key Best-Practices For Succession Planning Model

Our PPT Template will help you demonstrate the four key elements: planning, developing, monitoring, and reviewing in succession planning. Evaluate your employee’s performance and build strategic organizational planning and management. Assessment of key talent is one rea where this listing of best-practices will make you a star, as you present this template before your audience.

Key Best Practices for Succession Planning Model

Bottom Line

Succession planning is an essential process for any organization. This ensures that businesses can continue their mission and operation without disruption. It involves creating a plan for identifying, training, and designing potential successors to key leadership positions over time and assessing and developing current employees, for future leadership roles.

These customizable templates provide you the structure, the format and even offer the flexibility to present this powerful idea into a simple PowerPoint format. Just to reiterate, the customizable nature of the templates is a bonus, which is what makes these really yours. Your savings in time and money are humungous, if you give these templates a chance to augment your already-rich knowledge base.

FAQs on Succession Plans

What is the purpose of succession planning.

Succession planning aims to prepare for any staffing and leadership needs that may arise due to retirement or other events. This process is broken down into steps such as creating a succession planning model chart and selecting one or more successors for critical roles. Once successors are identified, they should be trained for their next-level roles.

What are the five steps in succession planning?

STEP 1: Identify Key Positions and Areas

STEP 2: Determine Capabilities for Important Positions and Areas

STEP 3: Determine each chosen employee’s competency and assessment grid  and evaluate them against the needed competencies.

STEP 4: Create and implement plans for transferring knowledge

STEP 5: Design the effectiveness and  succession plant flowchart.

What is succession planning as an example?

The best example of succession planning is:

●       IBM

An example of internal succession planning is Virginia Rometty's appointment as the CEO of IBM in 2012. Because Rometty fit in with the company's culture and had access to professional development programs, she was able to develop and ultimately become IBM’s first female CEO, after having risen through the ranks.

What are the four stages of succession planning?

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Easy-to-use succession planning template for any business

examples of succession planning in companies

A succession planning template is a great asset for future-proofing your organization. Even if the tides are in your favor right now, a sudden shift in leadership can create chaos within your company. Without a contingency plan for when managers leave their roles, replacing them with the right succession candidates can be a long and costly process.

But with a succession planning strategy, you can set your company up for future success. Foresight is key to a profitable business in the long term; knowing who can fill in when vacancies open in your company is an important asset.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use our simple succession planning template to line up potential candidates months or even years before the need arises. Let’s dive in.

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What is a succession planning template?

A succession planning template helps define key roles within your company and identify suitable replacements should they become vacant. Typically, the template will include any information that will help you find the ideal candidate to fill these positions.

Succession planning is the process of finding backups for key positions in case a manager or executive leaves. It’s about ensuring that if option A doesn’t pan out, there’s a backup plan in place. Any good template includes these core aspects of the succession planning process:

The information you record within the succession plan will determine who is the right fit for each critical role in your company.

Why use a succession planning template?

Now more than ever, workers are resigning at alarming rates. A record number of Americans, around 4.53 million , stepped down from their jobs in 2021, leaving companies to pick up the pieces.

A succession planning template provides assurance that when roles in senior management open up in your company, you have a suitable replacement on hand. It’s a way to future-proof your company against everything from sudden dismissals or resignations to retirement and unforeseen events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you line up potential candidates to fill a vacant role in the future, you protect your company and can build towards longevity. Businesses with a revolving door dynamic — those suffering from high employee turnover — can experience disastrous consequences. It takes a significant amount of time and resources to train recruits for entry-level positions, let alone for senior roles.

What’s more, you aren’t guaranteed better results when you look to external hires to bail you out of a tight spot.

Using a template and filling out a plan helps you fill any unforeseen vacancies with the perfect in-house candidates. You can save money on hiring costs and decrease the time you spend without a senior manager. It costs on average $4,425 and takes 36-42 days to fill a vacancy when you can’t source someone in-house.

Succession planning can also help boost worker engagement. The clear possibility of promotion incentivizes employees to stay on with the company and gives them something to look forward to.

Now that you understand the “why” behind succession planning templates, let’s explore how you can use them in your company.

What are some examples of succession planning templates?

While all succession planning has the same goal — replacing a vacant role — it doesn’t always follow the same timelines or methods. Let’s take a look at 3 different use cases and templates.

1. Succession planning for soon-to-be-vacant roles

You can use a succession plan template to identify suitable replacements for soon-to-be-retired employees in key positions. With a table like the one below, you can not only plan for the moment the employee retires but also for the immediate future.

screenshot of succession plan for retirees

( Image Source )

While a long-term plan is necessary, you also have to think on your feet in case something goes wrong in the short term. With this template, you can determine whether you have someone in-house that can step into the role right now, 6-12 months on, or in a year or more. That way, it won’t be an issue if your ideal candidate for the position eludes you, as you’ll have temporary cover lined up.

2. Succession planning worksheet to identify critical roles

You can use a critical role identification questionnaire to figure out which roles are pivotal to your business’ success. Using a simple rating system, you can assign a level of priority to each role, letting you know which gaps you would need to plug first to keep the company running smoothly.

screenshot of questionnaire detailing skills for critical roles

3. Succession planning for identifying strong candidates

Use a candidate profile table to determine key skills needed for the critical roles in your company, as well as preferred experience level.

You can draw upon this information when you create your succession plan for each senior role. It’s a lot easier to find suitable in-house candidates that can take the reigns from those currently occupying critical roles when you already have a list of potential candidates and their strengths.

Candidate profile template screenshot

Want the best of all 3 worlds? We have a solution for you: monday.com

monday.com’s succession planning template

The monday.com succession planning template includes critical role analysis, top candidate tables, and an overview of soon-to-be-vacant roles. Plus, you can take advantage of a fully customizable Work OS , not just dry spreadsheet software. A Work OS is a platform that houses all the tools you need to get work done — task boards, automated workflows, conditional notifications, high-level project planning, real-time dashboards for your management, and more

monday.com's succession planning chart view screenshot

You can easily create reports to help convince executives that a specific candidate is the right match. You can even use the automation tools and resources to set reminders to discuss your succession planning strategy with your peers.

Personal data security is a priority for monday.com, and sensitive information is only accessible to those who are granted access. As a result, only those involved in the business succession plan will know which candidates are in consideration and for what roles.

Looking for more ways to track, store, and organize your employee growth information? We have a couple of additional templates that may help.

More related templates from monday.com

Individual development plan template.

Individual development plans are often coupled with action plans and inspire employee productivity and professional growth.

With this plan, you can get your employees up to speed on best practices within your company, so you don’t have to address common issues as they arise.

This template can also help you streamline onboarding and performance management processes and provide employees with actionable advice they can use to raise their stock and potentially work towards promotion.

The individual development plan can include the following elements:

Action plan template

An action plan template is self-explanatory: it details any actions you should take to accomplish a goal or complete a work-related project.

With an action plan, you can break a large project down into bite-size tasks for employees. Then, all you have to do is delegate the tasks to the relevant teams. That simplifies the process and ensures every employee knows what they need to do next, reducing dead time.

Here’s what you’ll need to include in your action plan template:

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FAQs about succession planning templates

How do you write a succession plan.

The first step to creating a succession plan is outlining roles that contribute to the company’s ongoing success. Once you’ve done that, you can draw up a list of potential in-house replacements according to whether they meet your criteria for what will make them successful.

Then you’ll want to evaluate each candidate, comparing their skills and experience level to what you expect in the senior roles. Finally, you can identify training that can fill gaps in a candidate’s knowledge and skill levels if necessary to get them up to speed with the role.

Draw from the leadership team’s experience to find out which roles are pivotal to the company’s progress, as this will help you build a clear picture of what the perfect successor looks like.

Which model is most commonly used in succession planning?

The nine box grid succession planning model is very common in succession planning. Nine box succession planning is based on the idea that you can assess a candidate’s potential for various roles using a grid.

The grid, which has nine boxes, categorizes candidates according to their suitability for a role. You divide up information into the following brackets:

monday.com's succession planning timeline view screenshot

You then identify what mediocre to outstanding performance looks like in each of those cases, so you have a complete picture of what a candidate needs to slide into the role and perform the duties well.

What are the steps in succession planning?

Usually, you’ll come across 3 stages of succession planning: assessment, evaluation, and development.

Each stage represents a different part of the process of finding a suitable replacement for a senior management role in your company. Your plan should reflect what key skills a candidate would need to take on the position and perform well in it.

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