4 Essential Tools You Need for Succession Planning
Reuben O'Connell
5 minutes
June 8, 2023

Every business knows the key to success lies in the ability to plan ahead. Especially when it comes to planning for key employees leaving the business and how to manage their exit. 

This is why succession planning is so critical, as it ensures processes are in place to fill key roles and maintain institutional knowledge. 

When used correctly, succession planning can ensure a smooth transition of leadership and facilitate the development and training of qualified individuals to step into specific roles immediately. 

Most organisations rely on various tools and strategies to effectively implement succession planning—but which tools are best? Find out in our complete guide. 

People development header imageWhat is succession planning?

First up, let’s look at what succession planning really is.

When an employee leaves your business, it’s the HR department’s job to fill that position quickly, and the replacement needs to fit seamlessly into the company. 

For every employee that leaves, there will be a loss of institutional knowledge and expertise. There will also be time where essential work that employee normally takes care of, will need to be covered by others.

Succession planning’s main objective is to ensure a smooth transition between people leaving roles and top talent entering them. This should aim to prevent essential work slipping, other employees being overloaded and prevent a loss of knowledge. 

Why is succession planning important?

Succession planning is important because preparing for vacancies in key roles such as leadership means companies can achieve organisational stability and mitigate the risks of sudden departures or unforeseen events. 

Establishing strong processes allows organisations to maintain continuity, preserve institutional knowledge, and sustain performance levels.

However, while this might sound easy, studies show that’s not always the case. According to Employer News, around 71% of boards and 75% of CEOs don’t actively participate in – or support – succession planning sessions. 

What are the four stages of succession planning?

Succession planning involves four steps that are integral to the process. Failing to follow each stage means HR teams might fail to identify top talent and ensure a smooth transition between roles. 

Step one: Identifying key positions and roles

The first step in succession planning is identifying the key positions, such as leadership roles or jobs that require specialist skills and knowledge.

Identifying these positions allows organisations to focus on succession planning and ensure a smooth transition when these positions become vacant.

Step two: Assessing current talent

The next step is to assess the current talent within the organisation by evaluating each employee’s performance, skills, experience, and potential for growth. 

The goal is to identify individuals who can fill the key positions in the future.

Step three: Developing talent

HR departments must also focus on developing top employees and giving them the skills and capabilities required for future leadership roles.

 Training and development programmes, mentoring, and job rotations can give talented employees confidence and ensure they’re ready to step up when needed. 

Step four: Implementing and evaluating the plan

The final step involves assigning individuals to specific development activities, regularly reviewing progress, and adjusting the plan. 

Doing this ensures the succession planning strategy works and can identify any gaps or areas for improvement.

4 Succession planning tools you need today 

So, now you know more about succession planning, it’s time to reveal which tools are best. These tools simplify processes and give HR departments the information they need to make informed decisions. 

1. Guider – Mentoring software 

Mentoring is one of the best ways to plan your employees for the future, and mentoring software makes it easy for businesses to monitor their mentoring programmes and change things if needed. 

With Guider, HR departments can enjoy a fully customisable experience and tailor the software to their unique needs and training programmes. 

Better still, employees and mentors can use the platform to arrange sessions, track progress and match people using advanced criteria. 

With so many features and an easy-to-navigate platform, Guider is paving the way for companies of all sizes to develop a mentoring programme that works. 

Guider how it works banner2. Motivosity – Leader Development Software

When it comes to dedicated leader development software, Motiovosity has a suite full of valuable features. 

Not only does it help HR departments create bespoke succession plans, but it also facilitates employee rewards and recognition. 

HR teams and senior managers can identify and monitor high-performing management members and create learning paths to give them the necessary skills. 

Overall, Motivosity offers a seamless experience and makes succession planning a breeze. 

3. Cornerstone OnDemand – HCM Platform 

Cornerstone OnDemand is a cloud-based talent management software company that provides a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to assist organisations in managing their human resources and optimising employee performance. 

Using a visual-based data system, HR teams and external stakeholders can assess a range of ‘What If’ scenarios and run through them to evaluate different alterations. 

What makes Cornerstone so great is its scenario feature, which simplifies succession planning, but you’ll have to install integrations using the API, so there are some drawbacks. 

4. PerformYard – HR Performance Software 

PerformYard is another software solution that aims to help HR teams develop succession plans by generating valuable data. The great thing about this software is it’s fully customisable and has different reporting features. 

For example, you can choose a variety of performance management reports, including continuous feedback, project-based reviews, rating scales and 360-degree reviews. 

The cascading goals can also turn into long-term career plans, which allow senior management and HR teams to evaluate each employee. 

Things to remember about succession planning

Succession planning is an intricate process that requires a lot of dedication and commitment. The key to creating development plans that work is to continually monitor management members and put solid strategies in place early on. 

Our top tips for succession planning include the following: 

  • Prioritising the most critical roles first. 
  • Let your employees know your plans and encourage loyalty. 
  • Ensure you have good training and mentoring plans in place. 
  • Be willing to adapt to the changes that will naturally occur. 

📖 If you found these tips helpful, check out our full post with five top tips for succession planning 📖

The bottom line 

Succession planning should be at the top of every company’s priority list, and following the tips in this post will help you create a bespoke plan that works for your company’s unique needs. 

With so many software solutions available, you can combine systems to get the most out of your planning strategy. Guider is a top-rated mentoring solution that offers endless benefits and makes matching mentors with mentees a stress-free experience. 

If you’re interested in seeing how Guider can work for you, book a free demo today. 

What's next?

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