The loss of core talent can have a significant impact on an organization that is not prepared to fill critical roles. Our expert succession planning consultants draw on decades of experience to help guide you through the succession planning process. These are some of the most commonly asked questions we hear in regard to succession planning.

What is the process of succession planning?

Every organization has different needs when it comes to succession planning. Our succession planning process is supported by data-driven assessments that help your organization make the appropriate decision about who is next in line.

  1. Identify critical roles: Prioritize roles that might be urgent due to upcoming exits or retirements or are critical to business success.
  2. Understand critical roles: Determine what is required to perform the role now as well as in the future, due to potential changes in industry, or other determining factors.
  3. Nominate potential successors: Identify potential candidates for succession and determine current ability to address succession in critical roles.
  4. Assess potential successors: Determine degree of readiness of potential successors to take over critical roles.
  5. Develop potential successors: Foster development of potential successors by leveraging the Coaching Workbook.
  6. Measure progress: Use objective and subjective measures to track progress of candidates and readiness for transitioning potential successors into critical roles.

For more information on SIGMA’s succession planning process check out our succession planning template and the simple succession planning webinar.

How to create a succession plan?

The steps to developing a succession plan are outlined above in the simple succession planning process. In addition to the 6-step succession planning process, the following are important to keep in mind when creating a succession plan.

  • Succession planning should be a company-wide initiative involving senior management and employees, not just HR.
  • Focus on finding the best candidate for each role, not just seeking adequate replacements.
  • Transparent and frequent communication with all involved is an important way to maintain enthusiasm and commitment to the initiative.

Measure the maturity of your succession plan with SIGMA’s succession planning success checklist.

What are the benefits of succession planning?

  1. A proper succession plan protects organization from unforeseen exits and retirements and helps the organization remain flexible in the face of staffing challenges.
  2. Retain top talent with your organization and identify meaningful development opportunities by starting a dialogue about employee interests and ambitions.
  3. Attract the top candidates by hiring with your succession plan in mind. Clearly identify the applicants interested in future development opportunities and help them visualize their potential career trajectory within your organization.
  4. Succession planning aids in identifying top talent for potential succession opportunities that can improve the diversity among senior positions.

How do you identify key positions in succession planning?

Consider the following criteria when identifying critical roles for succession planning:

  • Impact of the role on business operations.
  • Availability of external succession candidates.
  • Availability of internal succession candidates.
  • Uniqueness of skills or knowledge required for position.

Download SIGMA’s critical role identification questionnaire to determine the key positions within your organization.

What is the difference between succession planning and replacement planning?

Succession PlanningReplacement Hiring
Succession planning takes a long-term approach to talent management Replacement hiring is reactionary
and occurs only when there is an immediate need
Succession planning is integrated with broader company policiesReplacement hiring is driven by operational needs
Succession planning allows for effective decision-making because candidates can be developed to meet role requirements and carefully comparedReplacement hiring often means defaulting to a single candidate without comparing a broad range of candidates

Avoid replacement hiring with the succession planning vs replacement hiring checklist.

How to approach succession planning?

Dedicate the time and resources needed to properly implement the succession planning initiative. Begin by outlining a systematic process to develop and implement the plan (or go with an already proven plan). Make sure you build in accountability to track the progress of your succession planning and include objection and subjective measures to evaluate your success.

There is no better place to start than our Succession Planning Launch Series

How to communicate succession planning with employees?

It is important to be transparent when communicating successes, setbacks and challenges with your employees during the succession planning discussion. Maintain regular communication with your staff to gain employee buy-in and enthusiasm about the process. By obtaining buy-in from senior management you can leverage them as credible channels to communicate succession planning information within your organization.

How much does succession planning cost?

Succession planning can vary in cost. At $9,500, the SIGMA’s succession planning launch series is a great place to start:

  • Accomplish 6 months of work in just two half-day working sessions.
  • Provide an excellent way for you to evaluate the value SIGMA will bring to your Succession Planning Process with minimal cost and commitment.
  • Deliver a detailed 12 month Succession Plan in just 4 to 6 weeks.

How to implement succession planning in an organization?

To begin succession planning, start by considering the core values of your organization and how they might be achieved through succession. This will help you determining the goals you want to achieve with succession planning. Identify any industry trends and challenges that might be faced by the organization in the future to proactively address these situations in your plan. Remember to take into account organization-specific statistics on turnover, retirement, and promotion to target important outcomes for the organization.

Take the first step towards developing a detailed implementation plan by scheduling your Succession Planning Launch Series.

When to start succession planning?

Start developing a succession planning initiative, immediately! A good succession plan is well-integrated with the organization’s current procedures so it informs a broad range of decisions. Unexpected exits can occur at any moment and force the organization into replacement hiring.

How to measure succession planning?

To measure the full impact of succession planning in your company, your formal succession plan should always be evaluated using a variety of objective and subjective measures.

  • Objective Measure Examples
    • Percentage of positions able to fill internally.
    • Number of years for the average candidate to be ready for new role.
  • Subjective Measure Examples
    • Employee engagement.
    • Job satisfaction.
    • Intentions to remain with the organization.

Ready to Get Started?

SIGMA’s succession planning launch series is a great place to start. In just 2 half-day sessions, the Launch Series delivers a detailed 12 month Succession Plan in just 4 to 6 weeks for just $9,500.

Contact us to schedule your Succession Planning Launch Series.

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