Succession planning is the process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. Effective succession planning supports organizational stability and sustainability by ensuring there is an established process to meet staffing requirements. Boards and executive directors can demonstrate leadership by having the strategies and processes in place to ensure that these transitions occur smoothly, with little disruption to the organization.

A succession plan should involve nurturing and developing employees from within an organization. Employees who are perceived to have the skills, knowledge, qualities, experience and the desire can be groomed to move up to fill specific, key positions.

Advantages of Succession Planning for Employers:

  • An external reputation as an employer that invests in its people and provides opportunities and support for advancement
  • A message to employees that they are valuable
  • A means of ensuring the organization is prepared with a plan to support service continuity
  • A continuing supply of qualified, motivated people (or a process to identify them)
  • Alignment between organization’s vision and HR demonstrates an understanding of the need to have appropriate staffing to achieve strategic plans
  • Commitment to developing career paths for employees which will facilitate an organization’s ability to recruit and retain top-performing employees


Advantages of Succession Planning for Employees:

  • Employees who know a next role awaits them receive a boost to self-esteem and self-respect. This enhances their efficacy and value as an employee
  • Able to identify the skills, experience, and development opportunities necessary to help the employee become prepared for progression when the next job opportunity turns up.
  • Ability to work with their manager or supervisor to make sure that the employee has a career plan that moves him or her in the direction of their     next opportunity. This person is key in an employee’s ability to get the experience and education needed for career progression.


The absence of a succession plan can undermine an organization’s effectiveness and its sustainability. Without a succession planning process, an organization may not have a means of ensuring that the programs and services that are crucial to its operation are sustained beyond the tenure of the individual currently responsible for them.