In-House Training Courses

Business Acumen Course

Succession Planning and Evaluation

Course Overview

Is your business prepared for succession? With most companies, that answer will be “what’s succession?” Succession planning is one of those things that is often talked about, but always considered too complex for smaller businesses to understand. In fact, most companies are started with specific exit strategies in place, but no plan for how to execute them, or plan of how to reduce the personnel loss, or how to transfer title/land/etc. Overall, most companies do not have a succession plan in place – but keep in mind, it’s like the old say goes: “If you fail to plan, then your plan is to fail.” Succession Planning is key to keeping a company strong and viable – it can be considered one of the most important functions that will sustain business performance.

In this course, you will learn what Succession Planning is and how to develop yourself to be able to Evaluate the state of the company, employee potential, and ongoing critical risk factors. By the end of this course you will have a greater understanding of how to identify the key personnel, process, and assets that make your company viable. The key result of this process is to develop a thorough understanding of what it takes to create a succession plan (similar to a contingency planning) that prepares the company for the future. By the end of this training you will be able to identify and understand key business elements and how to incorporate them into your succession plan.

Key Concept

Succession planning is part of preparing a company for the future. It is a very high-level activity and helps to mitigate risks, target personnel development, and guide HR in their hiring strategies. Its primary purpose is to identify key roles, personnel or technology and make a definitive plan to prevent failure. When targeting and training personnel as possible stand-ins for key positions, it does not include or imply any kind of guaranteed career path or promotions – it’s simply identifying and training potential candidates who are viable considerations for a key position.

Key Terminology

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is a concise statement of the strategy of a company that focuses on how the organization will achieve its objectives. It is best described as a process for identifying and developing the potential of future leaders or key personnel for either short-term or long-term situations that develop in order to minimize the impact on the operations or ongoing viability of a company. Succession Planning involves integrating a systematic approach to identifying vulnerabilities that could adversely impact or destroy the company and then creating and implementing a plan to prevent that from happening – it could include attempts to address future options or strategies for improvement.


Evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of information on the performance of a policy, program or plan in order to make judgments about its relevance, progress, success, cost-effectiveness; or to base future decisions on in regards to design and implementation of policies, programs or initiatives. Evaluation provides a periodic opportunity to take an in-depth look at how a program, policy or initiative is doing.

Evaluation generally takes on these characteristics:

  • is periodical in nature (has a “cycle”);
  • involves judging a policy, program or plan’s merit or worth (based on systematic and high-quality data);
  • focuses on how and why results are achieved;
  • looks at intended and unintended effects; and
  • technological, physical or personnel based.

Assessment Tools

Assessment tools enable employees and managers to determine:

  • competencies required to carry out an employee’s responsibilities;
  • individual strengths and weaknesses; and
  • learning solutions to address gaps.

Assessment tools are designed to gather information from both employees and managers privately and confidentially. They can be completed by the employee and the manager working either jointly or individually. The assessment, based on both an employee’s and a manager’s perception of the competencies required to achieve work objectives, evaluates the employee’s strengths and weaknesses against the competencies. Once the assessment is completed, the employee, in consultation with the manager should develop an individual learning plan that includes achievable objectives, steps and performance measurement indicators to assess progress.


Risk refers to the uncertainty that surrounds future events and outcomes. It is the expression of the likelihood and impact of an event with the potential to influence the achievement of an organization’s objectives. Risk in this sense is the probability that a future event either good or bad will occur.

At a minimum, some form of quantitative or qualitative analysis is required for making decisions concerning major risks or threats to the achievement of an organization’s objectives. For each risk, two calculations are required: its likelihood or probability of occurring; and the extent of the impact or consequences if it does occur.

Integrated Risk Management

Integrated risk management is a continuous, proactive and systematic process to understand, manage and communicate risk from an organization-wide perspective. It is about making strategic decisions that contribute to achieving an organization’s overall business objectives. This is an integral part of succession planning.

Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome defines a long-term and enduring benefit that stems from a company mandate, vision or goal. It represents the result that a company wants to achieve and it needs to be a clear, measurable outcome that is within the company’s sphere of influence.

Output and result indicators:

Output indicators measure the outputs (products and services). Result indicators measure the results or progress of a program. The criteria for selecting performance indicators are as follows:

  • Relevant: Is the indicator meaningful? Is it directly linked to the result in question?
  • Reliable: Is it a consistent measure-over-time?
  • Valid: Does it measure the result?
  • Practical: Will it be easy to collect and analyze? Is it affordable?
  • Comparable: Is it similar to what other organizations measure?
  • Useful: Is it useful? Will it be useful for decision making?


Attrition is often referred to as “natural attrition,” which refers to the separation of employees (exits or departures) from the company other than the departures under incentive programs or devolution and privatization (forced departures). Most organizations assume an annual attrition rate, the rate they use will vary based on the size and nature of the organization, hiring freezes, downsizing, restructuring, and economic and political changes. Succession Planning focuses on countering the adverse effects of attrition.


A general term often used in labour economics to describe the sum total of employee inflows (new recruits) and outflows (separations) within an organization. There is no simple method of calculating labour turnover. If both hiring and separation rates for certain occupations are equally high in your organization, then one can say that when referring to those specific occupations, labour turnover is high. It is often regarded as a synonym to “degrees of retention.”

Competency Profile:

A Competency Profile is a set of competencies typically applied to groups of positions such as occupational groups (e.g. executives) or that are function-specific (e.g. IT, finance). Some organizations also identify a set of core competencies that are aligned with their organizations mission and values and that apply to all employees in the organization. Competency profiles facilitate the integration of HR activities, such as succession planning aligned with recruitment, learning, performance evaluation, etc. through a common language and framework.

Key Leadership Competencies:

Many organizations define a competency as any knowledge, skill, or ability, demonstrated through behaviour that results in superior job performance. For Succession Planning, we must also include in our definitions: personal qualities, values, or traits as competencies (soft skills) that underlie performance or behaviour at work. Characteristics such as:

  • Values and ethics: Integrity and respect
  • Strategic thinking: Analysis and ideas
  • Engagement: People, organizations, partners
  • Management excellence: Action management, people management, financial management

Employee Commitment Evaluation:

Commitment is a specific, simple and attainable statement, expressed in active language, as to the results an employee commits to achieve, and whereby the employee declares individual accountability. Employee Commitment Evaluation is the determination of the pride, loyalty and commitment that people feel for their organization, project or position; as well as the degree to which they intend to remain with the organization, desire to serve or to perform at high levels, positively recommend their organization to others, and improve the organization’s results. This is a critical evaluation in determining eligibility and potential for succession to key positions.

Essential Qualifications

Document the key/critical qualifications necessary for the position or technology being evaluated to be implemented; these qualifications must be met in order for a resource to be considered or appointed as a solution. These qualifications will be used during the evaluation process in order to determine potential, effectiveness, or performance – these qualifications will be reviewed during the evaluation process to determine ongoing viability or need for improvement.

Performance Indicator

A Performance Indicator is a direct or indirect measurement of an event or condition showing change over time. Indicators are often quantitative (i.e., based on numbers or objective information) but can also be qualitative (i.e., narrative or subjective information). The performance indicator is a means to compare planned results with actual results.

Performance measurement

Performance measurement is the regular collection of information for monitoring how a policy, program or initiative is doing at any point in time. It generally focuses on providing performance information to program managers at the operational level. Some organizations rely more heavily on ongoing performance measurement, while other companies put more emphasis on periodic evaluations. The paramount consideration is to determine what information is most important for decision making; whatever performance measurement strategy chosen should be the most appropriate strategy to provide the information required.

Evaluation and performance measurement are complementary activities. Evaluation ensures performance measurement is on track and indicators are appropriate. In turn, performance measurement data are often important sources of information for periodic evaluations.

Executive Talent Management

Executive Talent Management is designed to support the ongoing development and retention of executives in line with current and future business goals. Dialogue, feedback, career support and learning is tailored to each individual in order to ensure that executives are matched to the right job for their skills, competencies and career plans. Executive Talent Management allows executives to realize their potential while at the same time, it supports organizational priorities and excellence.

Learning Objective

  1. Understand the purpose and process of Succession Planning.
  2. Understand the purpose and importance of Evaluation and its ongoing necessity.
  3. Understand the various Resources that make the company viable and successful.
  4. Identify the key elements to consider in order to assess risk of these key elements.
  5. Understand how to create a succession plan.
  6. Be able to define the key roles, positions, or technologies that can have the most impact on the viability of the company.
  7. Learn how to improve your overall business by adapting and implementing a Succession Plan.
  8. Understand the benefits of Succession Planning in the identification and training of potential key successors.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction to Planning
    1. What is Planning?
    2. What is Risk?
  • What are some strategies to mitigate Risk?
  1. What is the purpose of planning?
  2. What role does risk play in planning?
  3. What is Business-Critical Planning?
  1. Introduction to Resource Planning
    1. What is a Resource?
    2. What are the different types of resources?
  • What is the difference between a resource and a critical resource?
  1. What is attrition and how does it impact companies?
  2. What is the difference between attrition and turnover?
  3. What is continuity and why is it important?
  1. Introduction to Succession Planning
    1. What is Succession Planning?
    2. Why is it important to businesses?
  • Understand the elements that need to be considered in assessing the need for a succession plan.
  1. Who is involved in Assessing and Developing a Succession Plan?
  2. Understand the key terminology that impacts and is used in Businesses in regards to Succession Planning.
  1. Implementing Succession Planning & Evaluation
    1. What is a Critical Position?
    2. How do you identify a Critical Position?
  • How do you assess the risk associated with the Critical Position?
  1. Understanding commitment and how to evaluate it.
  2. How to determine the essential qualifications of the critical positions under review.
  3. What is a Competency Profile?
  • How to define your Strategic Outcome in regards to Critical positions.
  • How to use Strategic Outcome to shape your Succession Plan.
  1. Going Beyond
    1. Is there actually a ROI on implementing the Succession Planning?
    2. What is Performance Measurement and what are the indicators that help assess it?
  • What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative performance indicators?
  1. Understand how to use Assessment Tools to evaluate performance indicators.
  2. Understand how to evaluate the ongoing relevance your Succession Plan.
  1. Concept Evaluations
    1. Quizzes.
    2. Competency Reviews and Evaluation.

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