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July 1st, 2022 · 6 min read

A quick and easy guide to creating a custom succession plan template

blog header image succession planning template article

7 key steps to a successful succession plan

1. Determine the type of succession plan you need

  • Which potential talent losses pose a main concern to your company? Think beyond the C-suite.
  • What is the typical lifespan of these key positions within your organization? Are there any common trends when you look at turnover rates across certain teams or job functions? 
  • Which positions are mission-critical and must be included? Are there other roles that are less critical on a daily basis, but might leave a deep hole in expertise, delay a long-term project or disrupt operations unnecessarily?  
  • In looking to future technologies or business priorities, how might the skills or requirements for your critical roles shift or expand? Are there existing skills gaps that you’re aware of?

skills gap analysis template cta

2. Build a succession planning team

3. Align succession plan with organizational objectives

4. Create a succession plan template

Succession planning template components

  • Positions: This can include executive, middle management and other roles you identify as critical.
  • Incumbent: A profile on the current role-holder and any considerations unique to the individual and job position. If you’re planning for multiple roles at once, establish an urgency order.
  • Candidates: Qualified and willing individuals with the potential to fill the incumbent’s role. You can also split this into two sections, one for candidates who are a good fit for the short-term (interim) and another section for candidates who possess the skills to be strong permanent replacements. Don’t limit yourself to a single candidate per role and try not to duplicate a particular candidate across multiple roles. 
  • Readiness rating: This is a score that you assign that indicates each candidate’s preparedness for the role in question. This might also include information about the skills, experience, degrees, credentials or other skill-building needed for the individual to be successful in the position.
  • Timeline: Include one proposed timeline that addresses a long-term vacancy (retirement/death/unexpected resignation), and one addressing a short-term vacancy (parental leave or sabbatical).

Succession planning template example

succession plan template example

5. Identify avenues for talent acquisition and development

6. Nurture talent for a strong succession plan

  • Are these potential candidates still relevant for the positions they’re slated to fill? 
  • Have you provided the training, support and education outlined in the template?
  • Has it elevated their performance or readied them as you’d hoped? Or is more training and experience needed?
  • Are other employees showing abilities ripe for growth and worth considering for the succession plan?
  • Have any positions recently emerged as critical to the organization and relevant for the template? 

7. Review, adjust and repeat

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