3 Areas To Focus On When It Comes To Succession Planning


Having worked on People Change and Transformation projects for over 5 years it’s become glaringly obvious the risks that some organisations leave themselves open to when it comes to succession planning. The following blog aims to provide you with an understanding of what succession planning is, why it should be a focus for all businesses and 3 simple actions that you could focus on when it comes developing your very own succession culture.  If you’re a Senior Leader, Manager or work in a HR team then take a few minutes to digest the information below and develop some ideas.

French business management expert Henri Fayol was one of the first to identify the need for businesses to have a clear succession strategy in place. During the 1970’s a business process referred to as “Replacement Plans” allowed businesses to prioritise recruiting new hires into senior roles as soon as they became vacant. However, this reactive approach meant that businesses could go months without Senior Leaders. Furthermore, for those organisations not willing to wait, they would often end up with Leaders who were not well equipped for the role.

As we sit here today Succession Planning is one of the most effective ways to future proof your business and create a culture of success. Put simply, it is the process of ensuring that all of your Leadership and Management roles could be filled within in a small time frame from someone retiring, resigning or anything else that would mean they could not perform their role any longer.  Most businesses now have a succession plan which often includes their future, young and existing Managers who could step into more senior roles if required. This often involves skills matrix’, behavioural frameworks, job evaluation, organisational redesign, performance management and a whole host of other People Strategy projects – it is not a small piece of work! For example if you have a HR team with a HR Director, you may identify your Head of HR as someone that could perform that role moving forward – this is the succession element and you’ll use various tools and techniques as part of your analysis. Once this has been done you would then naturally develop that persons skills and behaviours that align to the HR Director role – adding value to them personally and limiting risk for you as a business.


Why Businesses Need To Focus On Succession…

  • Reduces risk – it’s more than likely that some of the best performers in your business currently hold leadership or management roles. If they were to leave tomorrow would your business be impacted? If the answer is yes then this is why succession is so important, as it limits the impact. If your answer was no then business probably isn’t for you.


  • Provides clarity on career pathways – it provides those junior and less experienced Managers who are being with training and support that helps them to improve. This naturally leads to better engagement, morale and a improved performance.



  • Opportunity to promote from within – save time and money by promoting from within your business rather than working with a recruitment agency or paying for the skills that you could’ve developed in house.


3 simple tips

  1. Ensure that you have a pro-active succession strategy. The sooner the better, don’t wait until you know someone is about to leave or retire – then it’s too late! If its a really senior role you may even wish to have a plan A, plan B and plan C!


  1. Ensure that senior leaders and managers are consistently transferring knowledge and coaching their teams. This is a great way to develop some of the more inexperienced members of your time in a very cost effective way


  1. Organisational Design – roles and responsibilities, job evaluation, performance management, talent management, organisational structure, skills matrix’ and personality profiling are just some of the project areas that you may wish to look into to help get your succession strategy right


If you have any questions in regards to succession then please drop me an email on [email protected] or contact the team at Here


Harry Wright

Employee Engagement & People Strategy Lead

Rencai Group