Succession Planning

Succession Planning is an important process whereby an organisation future-proofs their business by ensuring that it has trained and developed employees within the organisation (or is aware of skilled potential employees it is able to recruit from outside the organisation) to step into any of the company’s key roles as and when they become vacant. This process ensures the company will never have a key role open for which another employee is not prepared or for which a suitable replacement cannot be sourced rapidly.

Having a key role open within a business, for even a short length of time, can have a surprisingly large impact upon an organisation, but with appropriate planning and development, such issues are easily avoided.

Let’s face it, roles become vacant for a wide variety of reasons. The post-holder may stay with the organisation but may be the subject of an internal promotion, secondment or sideways move. In addition, occasionally people move on to pastures new for any number of reasons – a new job, a change of direction, to set up their own business, as a result of illness or personal issues; and of course unfortunately from time to time organisations need to dispense with the services of certain employees.

An organisation will also be aware that as it grows and expands, an increasing number of roles and type of roles will be required in order to ensure the company has an appropriate and effective organisational structure in place. The important thing is for the organisation to keep one eye on the future, have a plan in place, and know that it has a means of filling these key roles efficiently and smoothly as and when required.

An effective Succession Plan is facilitated by the recruitment at the outset of ‘superior employees’ who possess the relevant knowledge, skills and experience required to advance within your organisation. A key element of the Succession Plan is to source talent who is receptive to new ideas and learning, and who is driven and prepared for advancement & promotion into ever more challenging roles.

Actively pursuing Succession Planning combines the training and development of employees within the business alongside the seeking of potential suitable employees from outside the company. Expansion and growth of your organisation, resulting in increased headcount will always necessitate external recruitment, and of course an internal chain of promotions will inevitably also create vacancies for entry level positions.
A partnership with NXT guarantees that you will always have skilled and appropriate candidates on hand, ready and willing to fill these roles.

Pro-active vs Re-active Recruitment

Many businesses have not yet started Succession Planning and only contemplate recruitment in the exact moment that they need to fill a position. This reactive approach means that there is often a delay in sourcing the ideal candidate and the business may need to rely upon a short-term staffing arrangement initially. Organisations often also rely purely on job adverts to fill positions. Whilst an important aspect of any recruitment campaign, when used in isolation they can often yield disappointing results when it comes to candidate quality or numbers. The reason for this is that they are a “reactive” way of recruiting and will generally only attract those who are actively looking at changing jobs – and crucially, they rely upon those people seeing the advert.

Fortunately there is another way of sourcing the right people to come and work for you – by choosing a dedicated recruitment partner. A good recruitment partner or agency can do the work for you, will have more tools, time and routes to market available, and will ensure no stone is left unturned and all potential candidates are reached. NXT is “pro-active” in headhunting people who may not otherwise have been considered. Did you know that the majority of people we place with our clients are not actively seeking work at the time we contact them?

By partnering with NXT you can actively plan your approach to any recruitment requirements before they arise, and rest assured, in the event of a recruitment need, we will work with you to source candidates by a variety of means – candidates who are not only qualified but who are the right profile for your business and team.

Who needs Succession Planning?

All businesses and companies alike, irrespective of their size, require Succession Planning.

How do companies currently ‘do’ Succession Planning?

Many companies have not yet introduced the concept of Succession Planning in their organisations. Others plan informally and verbally for succession into key roles, whilst others may already have a detailed and thorough plan in place. No matter what stage you are at with your plan, we can assist you with this process. The more we know about your business, your requirements and your future plans, the easier it will be for us to: help you to progress your ideas, source appropriate candidates, and keep an eye out for potential employees who may be of benefit to your organisation. Regular contact with NXT will ensure that we are always prepared to react at a moment’s notice with your Succession Plan in mind.

Any other hints or tips?

Succession Planning is supported by the transference of information. You should ensure that key knowledge is regularly passed from one individual to another/others within an organisation – or is at the very least available to access in a shared storage area. If a key employee were suddenly unable to return to work, would your employees have a means of accessing any required information? Linked to this is the fact that the baby boomer generation is in the process of retiring. They are taking with them 30-40+ years of knowledge, experience, working relationships, and information. You want to capture that knowledge before it walks out your door.

Advantages of Succession Planning:

  • You rely on staff to carry out the mission and vision of the business, and to accomplish the associated goals. The loss of a key employee or employees can undermine your ability to accomplish these important objectives, but effective Succession Planning will ensure you are never left in the lurch. You will always have a plan – as you have already been proactive in preparing it, instead of reacting when it is too late


  • Training and developing internal employees is a key element of the Succession Plan. Your employees will see a future with your business and will appreciate the opportunities for career progression and development! Employees who know that an organisation is actively considering their career path and development are likely to be more engaged and enthused. As well as receiving a boost to their self-esteem, they feel more valued as employees, which in turn increases appreciation and organisational loyalty. Career development and career opportunity is is one of the areas that employees want most from their employer! Plus, employers who identify and invest in training requirements will ensure their staff are always confident, ready and prepared for progression, the moment the opportunity arises.


  • The opportunity for an employee to work directly with their Manager or Supervisor on their future career plan breeds trust and mutual respect, solidifying intra-organisational relationships. Both parties are investing their time and commitment and the company reaps the rewards.


  • A fundamental component of Succession Planning involves sharing knowledge of the particular skills of employees with the rest of the organisation. This not only opens up a range of company-wide opportunities to the employee, but by ensuring the organisation is aware in advance of the employee’s skills and abilities, the process of filling any vacancies is accelerated


  • By involving a recruitment partner in your Succession Plan, they will be aware in advance of your business history, description and potential requirements which inevitably speeds up any recruitment process. Working together in a long term collaboration, you will also be kept informed of talented individuals who may be looking for a career move, and also of any skills shortages in the recruitment sector that may be on the horizon and which may affect your business.


  • You will be one step ahead of the competition! There are still a large number of businesses who do not consider Succession Planning. Those who do, follow a smooth trajectory, dealing with any employment vacancies or company expansion with ease without these issues halting progress, diverting attention or stymieing growth plans. Succession Planning will ensure you are already prepared to respond to any change in an agile manner!

If you’d like to discuss Succession Planning and the ways in which we can support you in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the NXT team. We’re here to help.