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As a company owner, manager, or someone who holds a high position in your company, you should constantly evaluate the performance of your employees. A performance appraisal allows you to identify high-potential workers who might deserve a key managerial position in case a position opens up. They are trained to be involved in key-decision making and to advance. To ensure a smooth transfer of power and responsibility, you must develop an effective succession planning template.

What is a succession planning system?

The process of creating a succession plan template involves a number of stages. A succession plan includes identifying critical business roles, evaluating and selecting employees for those roles based on critical competencies, and developing employees to fill future positions.

Here are some steps to consider when creating a business succession plan template:


To create a succession planning outline that works well, you must connect succession planning to several other strategies. This will help you:

Specify your future goals and challenges. This will help you choose the roles you need to move forward in your career.

Identify the negative effects the absence of key positions has had on your company. This assessment will help you identify how well you oversee the competencies that are critical to the continuity of your business.

Open the opportunity for senior leaders to participate in training for staff members to help your employees understand their roles. It is important to keep track of key positions that might become vacant. This can help you create a more specific succession timeline.


Make a list of candidates based on their potential for leadership roles. The selection process should be fair and based on standardized criteria relevant to critical competencies and each candidate’s potential for growth.

Make a list of the competencies each candidate should develop; then use these lists to help plan training. You may need to adjust the workloads or schedules of some candidates to make room for developmental opportunities.

It is also possible that one of the candidates for a position might already have the qualifications for the open post without having to undergo further training, certification, or education. Instead of letting them go, you should keep these employees to prevent them from becoming leaders in another company.


You should regularly review and update your plans to monitor your progress and meet your milestones. Creating a timeline that fits with your upcoming vacancies and strategic plans is recommended. A contingency plan should also include an alternative course of action in case an unexpected transition occurs.

Succession Plan Samples

What is the first step in succession planning?

Succession planning is a strategy used to identify, develop, and prepare future leaders in your company at all levels. The use of a succession planning template can help a company prepare for any type of contingency by developing employees for potential advancement.

The steps in this process are as follows:

Identify the key positions in your company, both current and those that you expect to take on in the future
The first step in succession planning is to identify the key groups or positions in your company and document what happens if a key employee leaves. When identifying issues for a group to discuss, focus on the positions instead of the candidates.

Listing all of the competencies

All positions require a certain set of abilities, knowledge, and skills. Consider those employees who would be most suited for the roles and make a list. One way to list these competencies is by reviewing relevant job descriptions and merit criteria, then interviewing past and present employees in the position.

Identifying the potential candidates

Succession planning permits candidates who display enthusiasm for a position to develop the skills needed to fill it. Good succession plans include mentoring candidates before the formal recruitment process begins.

Creating development plans

When you have the list of candidates for a role in your board succession planning template, make sure those candidates have access to learning tools and development opportunities. Modern succession planning generally entails mentoring and preparing potential candidates in some way.

Business Succession Plan Templates

Why does organization need a succession planning template?

A succession planning template helps you to identify critical roles in your company and train employees to fill those roles. Future-proofing your company will help you engage your employees in professional development.

Developing a business succession plan template helps you identify and develop a talent pool within your company, enabling you to prepare internal candidates to fill existing roles in your company, as well as new roles that will emerge as your company grows. Succession planning is an important element of organizational development, but few companies implement it.

It can be difficult to get driven and committed leaders to step down from their positions as a company grows. Creating a succession planning worksheet can help you gain the following benefits:

Talent retention

A career development plan involves engaging your best employees with an assessment of their future at your company and offering opportunities to develop, hone their experience and leadership skills, and increase knowledge. This reduces the likelihood that their product will be pirated by competitors.

Future-proofed company

This strategy will help you fill existing and future vacancies with the right people and prepare for unexpected leadership loss.

No skills gaps

Developing internal talent gives a company critical skills, keeps the expertise in-house, and saves money.

Strong company culture

Through empowerment, you will be able to build a team of motivated and engaged leaders who can embody the culture of your company.

Diverse group of leaders

When you are data-driven, you will identify leadership candidates outside your company who you might not have considered.

Succession Planning Worksheet Samples

How to write a succession plan?

Succession planning is the process of promoting qualified individuals within your company to high-ranking roles. Through constant evaluations and observations, you can identify these employees early in their careers to help guide them towards success.

When the time comes for them to be promoted to new positions, you can ensure that they will have the necessary training. Your company needs a succession planning template in place for each of its key positions.

Here are the steps to use as you create your succession planning outline:

Be a proactive planner

In some cases, you may find out before the project is completed that one of your team members will be leaving. There are cases in which an abrupt departure proves to be quite disorienting. You need a board succession planning template now to prepare for future leadership changes.

Inform the potential candidates

Explain to each candidate in a private meeting that you have selected him or her for a higher position. As candidates are likely to change jobs, make it clear that any offer will be subject to further discussions concerning the company’s future plans.

Pinpoint your candidates

When dealing with a ripple effect caused by employee turnover, you should choose to promote people who have the potential to fill open positions. In most cases, the person who is next in line in an organization’s organizational chart will be the successor.

It would be unwise to overlook more experienced or promising employees, though. Select those who have the skills needed to excel in an open position, regardless of their current title.

Help them improve

Ideally, you should have already invested in the professional development of those you have chosen. You need to further your preparation. A potential way to do this is by allowing your candidates to rotate through different jobs in order to gain additional experience and insight from each.

Integrate your plan into your recruitment campaign

The moment you identify successors for critical roles in your organization, you must be aware of any talent gaps they will leave behind. This enables you to determine where to focus your recruiting efforts in the future.


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