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Succession Planning: How To Retain Your Employees And Plan For Unexpected Departures.

Updated: May 2

Woman covering her face in distress, symbolising the stress that can be caused by unexpected departures for employers, and how they can be managed through Succession Planning

Unlocking Succession Planning

Are you tired of watching your best talent walk out the door? The price tag of recruiting and training a replacement often surpasses the investment needed to nurture and retain existing talent. In my recent interactions with growing businesses at networking events, I have noticed a surprising oversight in understanding how succession planning should be undertaken, to not just ensure business continuity but also to retain and nourish talent. Therefore, I am here to offer insights and strategies to help you navigate the world of succession planning effectively.


Understanding Succession Planning

Succession planning is more than just a corporate buzzword; it is a strategic necessity. It involves assessing and comprehending the talent within your organisation and devising a plan for potential transitions.

Ask yourself: Who would step into my shoes or those of my leadership team if we were to leave suddenly and when would they be ready and what skills will they need to do the role effectively? Are there individuals who pose a flight risk? If a key player were to depart, who possesses the potential to fill their role, and how can we groom them for success? More importantly, when is someone ready to step in as a successor (now, 6 months, 1 – 2 years), and what development plans do you need to put in place to help fill the skills gap?

This process may entail targeted training initiatives, presentation skills, leadership training, facilitating job shadowing experiences, or even considering external recruitment to address any capability gaps.


Mitigating Retention Risks

Effectively mitigating retention risks requires a holistic approach. One effective strategy is to integrate succession planning with talent reviews (this is a discussion about your talent).

Talent reviews involve a comprehensive evaluation of your organisation's people. By conducting these assessments in tandem, you gain a deeper understanding of your workforce's strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to identify and nurture high-potential individuals while proactively addressing any retention concerns. Please see my blog on how to undertake a talent review here.


Embracing Succession Planning

In today's dynamic business landscape, succession planning is no longer a luxury; it is a strategic imperative. By investing in succession planning, you not only safeguard your organisation against talent shortages and disruptions but also foster a culture of growth and development that resonates with your employees. So, whether you are a start-up or an established company, it is time to embrace succession planning as a cornerstone of your organisational strategy.

Thinking about succession planning and developing your people go hand in hand and undertaking this exercise can be extremely rewarding, in being able to better understand your people, organisational skills and challenges.


How to use succession planning as a development tool

In the intricate landscape of organisational management, succession planning, and development intertwine as essential components for sustained success. Succession planning relies on a profound comprehension of an organisation's strengths and vulnerabilities, which is enriched through engagement in development initiatives.

By fostering a culture of delegation and collaboration, development programs not only equip employees with diverse skill sets but also cultivate a collaborative ethos crucial for future leadership transitions. These initiatives, coupled with a commitment to nurturing a performance-driven culture, empower individuals to continuously improve and excel in their roles.

Ultimately, the aim of succession planning, and development is to empower individuals to fulfil their potential and prepare them for future leadership roles, ensuring organisational resilience, agility, and long-term success in today's competitive marketplace.



Succession planning is not just about preparing for the inevitable; it is about building a resilient and adaptable organisation that can thrive in an ever-changing environment. By understanding the importance of succession planning and implementing it effectively, you can retain your top talent, minimise disruptions, and position your organisation for long-term success.

If you need HR support on this topic, please reach out to Progressive HR Solutions via email at

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