Talent management and succession planning

Succession management is at the most comprehensive end of the spectrum.

In Summary

•Everyone would want to be in this category however, sadly not all roles are in.

•This is where you look at the cost of replacing an employee based on the selection made. 

Dorcas Nderitu.
Dorcas Nderitu.

“Succession planning cannot take place in a vacuum. It should also be an intensive, comprehensive initiative, much more than a preparation of a list of names that will be tabled if the CEO is hit by a bus. Similarly, succession plans will not increase the productivity growth rate of the firm if they are designed only to allow the internal auditor to tick the box: succession plan in place.”

                                                    Paul Cantor, former Chairman, Russell Reynolds


For Corporations and businesses to thrive well, and manage their talent as the year comes to a close. It is important to plan for the next year 2022, I would posit consider alternatives to the efficient or traditional methods of talent management and succession planning. When it comes to talent management and succession planning, there is indeed a spectrum that extends from relatively simple and bounded to relatively complex and comprehensive.

When HR practitioners talk about a pipeline in place for the top two or three managerial levels, keep in mind that the focus point here is not just ad hoc on-the-job experience. When starting to think complex and comprehensively, you immediately start with talent management, which is one aspect that if any organization, both businesses and corporations, focused on, they would achieve the rapid results that they necessitate.

As we approach the end of 2021 and begin planning for 2022, there are some aspects that, if put in place now, will aid in better navigating 2022 and having a good process for talent and succession management. Some questions to consider when developing a system continuum of talent and succession management are as follows:

Q. What exactly is a "key" or "corporate-critical" position?

Have you had this conversation or think tank process with your HR manager/adviser as a business or owner or manager? This is very important, especially now, to just come together and ensure you're reading from the same page. Is it true that the company has more critical roles than others, and if so, which ones are they? By identifying them, you can start a discussion about how many roles you're looking at and who handles and manages them. This will be followed by a discussion of how critical talent roles are defined.

What constitutes a high-potential employee?

Everyone would want to be in this category however, sadly not all roles are in. This is where you look at the cost of replacing an employee based on the selection made as corporate critical understand the role rather than the person. This allows you to separate the need from the wants in that position.

What percentage of open positions should be filled from within the organization?

I have worked in different organizations and this is very important to discuss and know from onset certain roles would be filled internally and not externally, it helps in guiding the supervisor on talent management but most important preparation for the process of succession management.

Succession management is at the most comprehensive end of the spectrum because it identifies successors (replacement planning), develops them (succession planning), and is directed at all managerial levels. The overarching goal of succession management is to have a pool or pipeline of prepared leaders—rather than just a list of prospective candidates—across all organizational levels to fill key position vacancies when they arise.

When it comes to talent management, one must consider succession planning in order for a business to thrive in this new norm and economy. This not only allows the process to flow, but it also fosters a leadership that wants to mentor, coach, and develop their team for greatness.

As the year comes to an end, one must ask themselves if they want to nurture talent and develop future leaders. If they do, a hybrid mix of talent and succession management is the way to go, as is ensuring the team that stands out is Agile and ready for a hybrid environment, as this is the current norm.


Dorcas Nderitu is a Talent and Management Advisor with over 15years experience as a Practicing HR Practioner. She believes talent strategies give you succession management by offering processes in systems that work and enable the environment for the business to thrive. If you would like to know more about talent management and succession planning write reach out to her via [email protected]

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