Succession Planning

Succession planning is one of the most straight-forward, and misunderstood, talent processes your organization needs to adopt.

The Problem

Organizations need to plan for the future.  A lot of time, energy, and effort goes into financial planning and strategic planning, but people-planning can lag.  Part of the reason is that we believe succession planning is more complicated than it really is.  Simplifying our thinking is the first step toward simplifying the process.

What Is Succession Planning?

Simply put, succession planning is risk management.  It is planning for the inevitable and the unpredictable.  It is matching your known, and unknown, talent needs with people who may be able to function well in those roles.  And it is a process that needs to be managed and regularly revisited to get the best possible results.

How we can help

Succession planning can be a daunting task.  It is full of variables and unknowns that can make organizational leaders uncomfortable.  However, it is also an essential business process that requires focused attention.  At its core, Succession Planning is about identification, assessment, and development.  Frontline Training Solutions stands ready to walk you through these critical processes.

  • Identifying Your Roles & People: Organizations need to start by analyzing what positions require a succession plan.  This comes from reviewing organizational structure, strategy, and imminent talent transitions.  Organization also need to identify the individuals they believe should be considered for future roles.  Building a talent matrix provides a snap shot of who the organization sees taking on additional responsibility in the future.
  • Assessing Your Roles & People: Role assessment includes determining priority, timing, and profile needed.  Organizations need to think about how much risk is assumed should a position go vacant for a period of time, when the role will require someone new, and what knowledge, skills, and abilities a successor must have to be successful.  Assessing individuals means determining their readiness and appropriate development to increase the likelihood of success once they assume the role.
  • Developing the Plan & People: Many HR systems have ways to track succession planning.  But even if you do not have one of these systems, you will need a way to build and record the formal plan.  This could be a spreadsheet or a Word document and will include information such as incumbent, successor names, readiness, and development needed.  Developing the successors requires a balanced approach that focuses on experiences, coaching, and (when needed) formal training.
  • Building a Process: At Frontline Training Solutions, our approach is to partner with you to build a system and process that works within your context.  Our team has extensive experience building succession processes for large multi-national companies, small-to-medium sized organizations, and non-profits.  The components outlined above will be included in any process we help design, but the way they are included and how the process works will be determined by the organization we are supporting.

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Experienced Problem Solving for Your Industry:


Many manufacturing companies are faced with the daunting reality of the impending retirements of a high-percentage of there frontline supervisors and leaders.  This represents significant risk to the organization as institutional knowledge leaves when those leaders retire.  Succession planning can help mitigate against this risk if coupled with an effective knowledge transfer process.

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Nonprofit employees are motivated by mission and will often sacrifice some of the traditional benefits of for-profit work to be able to support that mission.  A succession planning process that identifies people internally who are motivated by those same ideals long-term and provides a roadmap for them to contribute in increasingly impactful ways can drive engagement and retention long-term.

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Retail & Hospitality

Turnover is a challenge in every industry these days, but perhaps uniquely so in the retail and hospitality space.  Building an intentional succession planning process can help increase retention and drive engagement for those who are motivated to develop and grow into new levels of responsibility.

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Professional Services

Often times, professional services organizations do not have clear career paths articulated.  Building a succession planning process that supports career development is a game-changer.  This requires intentional thought and embedding of a consistent processes that can have significant long-term impact.

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Succession Planning: Bridging the present with the future

In this webinar, we will discuss the essential components of an effective Succession Planning process.

Frequently Asked Questions

We believe succession planning can be done at any scale.  Bigger organizations may have more internal talent to choose from and may have more dedicated resources supporting the process, but small organizations can engage as well.  Smaller organizations will likely need external partners to help them build the right processes and may also need to think “outside of their walls” for successors, but the same level of planning and rigor is possible.

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