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Succession Planning

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

May 16, 2024
Succession Planning
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Succession planning is the process of identifying high-performing employees who will make good leaders. When organizations grow, developing existing employees is sometimes more cost-effective than hiring new people. An effective succession plan will equip successors with the knowledge and skills needed for fulfilling their future roles. 


Effective succession planning is closely linked to an organization’s recruitment strategy. With a succession plan in place, a company can place emphasis on hiring and recruiting candidates who can support the organization’s future growth. 


An organization and its employees benefit from succession planning in several ways:


  • Cost-effectiveness: Sourcing candidates from within the company is more cost-effective than recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees. 

  • Shorter vacancies: Long delays in filling a position can negatively impact an organization’s performance and expansion. Having a succession plan in place can ensure minimal downtime. 

  • Maximum performance potential: Skill development and cross-disciplinary training serve to expand the capability of existing employees. This makes a company more productive, more versatile, and less vulnerable to bandwidth bottlenecks and absences. 

  • Stronger internal hiring: With a succession plan, hiring managers can gauge the enthusiasm and aptitude of candidates, serving as a prefilter for employees marked for advancement. 

  • Career development foundation: Many candidates consider learning and development opportunities to be a big priority. A succession plan is a clear indicator that an organization actively invests in its workforce and guides employees forward. 

  • Increased employee engagement: Succession planning also has the benefit of boosting employee retention and engagement. 


Succession planning is a term often confused with growth planning. Growth planning outlines how organizations expect to grow. Alternatively, succession planning focuses on what an organization needs to do to provide employees the opportunity to advance within the company. 


Succession Planning Examples


  • Emergency Succession Plan: An organization can prepare for an emergency succession plan such as a sudden departure of a key leader. An emergency succession plan would include a list of capable internal candidates who are qualified to act in an interim capacity pending the hiring or promotion of a permanent successor. 

  • Executive Succession Planning: Large corporations should identify critical executives and develop a detailed succession plan for every key executive. An executive succession plan would identify internal candidates who can be developed to take over key executive positions. Development for executive roles might include leadership training programs and job shadowing current company leaders.

Related Terms

Succession Plan

refers to the succession plan created by an organization's stakeholders and leadership team.

Strategic HR Planning

involves a company aligning its HR strategy with long-term goals. This includes identifying employees needed to achieve business goals.

Talent Pipeline

refers to a candidate pool of previously identified individuals who may serve as successors for key positions in an organization. With a talent pipeline, a company has a continuous flow of people who can fill critical roles that become available.

Leadership Development

focuses on enhancing the skills of employees within an organization to prepare them for leadership roles.

Career Pathing

maps out a sequence of job positions through which an individual may progress in an organization. With career pathing, employees can visualize their career trajectory and have clarity on which steps they need to take to achieve career goals.

Bench Strength

refers to the competence and readiness depth within an organization’s existing workforce.

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