The Critical Roles Identification Questionnaire is a worksheet that will help you to identify those key roles that your organization should target in your succession program. The questionnaire asks you to list all the roles in your company that are most important to operations. While you are likely to list your C-suite leaders and senior managers first, it is important to also take a step back and look beyond management. Are there any lynchpin roles at other levels – perhaps amongst your administrative staff or IT? Be sure to consider both essential people and essential roles.

Once you have identified each of your critical roles, the next step is to rate each role on the following five criteria. Use higher ratings to indicate areas of concern.

Critical Role Identification Questionnaire by Sigma Assessment Systems to Identify roles for succession planning.

Urgent Need

Based on past conversations and eligibility to retire, indicate how soon you anticipate needing to fill the role. You can use the following values as a guideline:

  • 1-2 = low urgency, person likely to stay beyond the next 5 years
  • 3 = moderate urgency, person may leave the role in the next 3 to 5 years
  • 4-5 = indicates high urgency, person is likely to leave in less than 3 years.

Low External Candidate Availability

Rate how difficult you expect it would be to fill this role with an external candidate. Higher scores indicate greater difficulty in finding external hires.

Poor Internal Bench Strength

Evaluate how long you think it would take for an internal candidate to become ready to fill this role. You can use the following values as a guideline:

  • 1-2 = strong bench, multiple candidates ready in 1-3 years
  • 3 = moderate bench, some candidates ready in 3-5 years
  • 4-5 = weak bench, few candidates that won’t be ready for 5+ years

Strong Impact on Business

Rate how immediately and severely your business would be affected if this role was made vacant today. Again, higher scores indicate a greater impact.

Unique Skill Set or Knowledge Base

Consider if this role requires any specialized skills or knowledge. Evaluate not only the skills needed to be qualified for the role, but also the institutional knowledge that is needed to be successful in this role.  

After completing your ratings, calculate a total for each role by adding scores across the five criteria. To prove the success of your process to key stakeholders we recommend starting with 1-5 roles. As you demonstrate the value that Succession Planning brings, you are likely to gain more support and the resources needed to roll out your plan across the organization. Learn more about identifying critical roles in your organization. If you’re ready for the next step, start to Build Success Profiles for those roles with the highest scores.

Download SIGMA’s SIMPLE SUCCESSION TEMPLATE GUIDE for Succession Planning Templates for each stage of your Succession Planning Process

Need Help Getting Started?

SIGMA’s Succession Planning Launch Series offers a simple and cost-effective way to build a robust Succession Planning process and ensure your organization’s leadership is positioned for success and prepared for the unknown.

Contact us to learn how we deliver a full year Succession Implementation Plan for each member of your leadership team in just two half-day workshops.