Benefits of Involving Employees in Succession

Succession planning has the potential to benefit multiple stakeholders within an organization. Your company gains a valuable tool to prepare for the future, your board will have increased confidence in the leadership of your organization, and your CEO will feel prepared knowing their position is covered in case of emergency. But when creating a succession plan, we cannot overlook the benefits this process can have for your largest stakeholder group: your employees. Before involving employees in succession, it’s important to understand the benefits for everyone involved.

How Does Succession Benefit Employees?

First, succession aims to develop employees for future opportunities, and that means focusing attention and training on your staff. Next, a good succession plan provides transparency, which helps employees understand the path toward promotion and greater responsibility. It gives individuals a benchmark for self-improvement, and makes clear their opportunities for growth and development. Finally, a good succession process is tool to guide developmental conversations between employees and leaders.

Considering the benefits to employees, it’s easy to assume staff will just fall in line and happily participate in succession. For many employees, however, succession planning can mean significant change. Sudden change without enough context would be concerning to any employee, leading to hesitation or mistrust of your process. When introducing a new plan, we often find that not enough time is spent directly involving employees in succession. Here, we highlight the value of gaining employee support for succession.

Benefits of Involving Employees in Succession


The first benefit of employee involvement is obvious. To have good candidates for a position, you need enthusiastic, talented individuals to groom for promotion. Having a motivated pool will make it easier to create benches and assign development opportunities. Engaged employees are also more committed, satisfied with their job, and productive in their work. These individuals are more likely to sustain their motivation over time, continuing to develop and improve their skills.

Openness to the Process

If your company has never before prioritized succession planning, introducing a new process can bring about change. You need your employees to be involved in your succession plan so they will be expecting changes, such as increased communication with their leaders, regular feedback sessions, and different roles and responsibilities intended to stretch their skills. Staff will also need to be open to the potential for failure and roadblocks as they learn new abilities, and approach these setbacks with a growth focus.

Informing the Need

Finally, leaders need employees to commit to the succession process to know who to include in their plan. Robust succession plans involve understanding who is likely to retire, quit, or transfer departments. It also means having frank conversations around employee ambitions and career goals. If your staff are not invested in the process, they might not be willing to provide honest feedback on their abilities, plans, and intentions to remain, which can reduce the effectiveness of your succession plan.

How SIGMA Can Help

At SIGMA, we know what it takes to make your succession plan succeed. Check out our Succession Template Guide and downloadable templates for tips to get you started. To make the process easy and painless, read about our Launch Series, which delivers a personalized Succession Plan to your company in just 30 days. Contact us to learn more about our succession offerings and how we can help your company plan for the future.

About the Author

Brittney Anderson, Ph.D.

Senior Consultant & Executive Coach

Brittney is a member of our coaching and consulting team. She brings her expertise in evidence-based practice to provide companies with leadership solutions that meet their needs. Primarily, Brittney helps her clients prepare for their future with succession planning and comprehensive leadership development programs. As an executive coach, she helps leaders hone their skills using a process-based approach to development.