Succession Planning Steps & Strategy

Create a succession planning model that adapts for the future

Succession planning insights

Most HR leaders approach succession planning by managing a pipeline of successors who have the potential to fill a key position or key role. However, almost two-thirds of HR leaders expect a significant portion of leadership roles to change within the next five years, and one-third of those leaders can't predict how the roles will change.

Download the Succession Planning 9-Box Model Tool

Identify succession candidates using this 9-box model template

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    Develop agile succession planning processes and diversify the bench

    To create flexibility for future leadership needs, develop agile succession processes that can better adapt to changing leadership skills and roles. Furthermore, in order to introduce much-needed diversity into the leadership bench of most organizations, consider how to mitigate selection bias across leadership pipelines.

    Portfolio management strategies can strengthen the leadership bench by 2x compared to pipeline strategies.

    Succession planning templates and insights you can use

    To create flexibility for future leadership needs, Gartner research can help you develop agile succession processes that can better adapt to changing leadership skills and roles. Our research, tools and advice can help you with leadership development, succession management, workforce planning, strategic planning, talent management and more. 

    Identify Critical Roles & Select Successors

    The first step in effective succession planning is to analyze organizational needs, defining what a future leader looks like, and then identifying potential successors. Use this tool to identify su

    Develop and Deploy Successors

    Declining bench strength is not a result of insufficient leader capabilities, but rather, the result of three major changes in the business environment. This presentation details the changes and offers guidance on improving your organization's end-to-end leadership strategy.

    Communicate Your Succession Plan to the CEO and Board

    As heads of HR are responsible for working with the board on succession planning and succession management, Gartner has designed this customizable succession planning template, which includes suggested language, and fill in the blank slides, to provide guidance on introducing a succession plan to the board.

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    Leadership roles are changing all the time — for example, we no longer have a chief administrative officer, but we recently created a chief sustainability officer position.
    Vice President, HR, FMCG Organization

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    Join your peer CHROs and HR leaders from leading organizations to discuss specific HR challenges and learn about top HR trends, insights and priorities.

    Succession planning questions Gartner can help answer

    Succession planning can help ensure the organization has the right leadership with the right skills at the right time. Given the ever-changing nature of today’s business landscape, succession planning ensures the business does not have a lapse in leadership. 

    The 9-box model is a tool design to help identify successors by defining performance and leadership potential, and plotting employees based on performance, potential and strategic alignment of individuals. You can download the model here.

    • Identify high potential employees (HIPOs), defined as employees with the likelihood of success in a senior position.
    • Evaluate individual employees’ competencies, and aggregate data to look at organizational strengths and weaknesses.
    • Enable employees to identify roles that will help them gain the skills necessary to rise to their desired role in the organization.

    A key to diversifying leadership talent pipelines is to mitigate selection bias. CHROs can effectively mitigate bias by introducing tactical interventions or “nudges” into their existing succession management processes to increase visibility of diverse talent and enable objective decision making. 

    Gartner’s 170+ HR experts are trusted advisors for over 4,000 HR leaders.

    Our experts can equip you with HR function benchmarks, and relevant best practices and tools that accelerate speed to execution and ensure decision quality.