20+ Free Succession Planning Templates (Excel, Word)

free succession planning template 6

The owner or manager of your company needs an effective succession planning template for constantly observe the performance of your employees. In case a position opens up, this process allows you to determine high-potential workers who deserve a key managerial position.

What is a succession planning template?

A succession planning template is an efficient tool that helps you in defining key roles within your company. It also determines suitable replacements if they become vacant. In short, this document helps you in finding the best candidate to fill these positions. Furthermore, succession planning is the process that happens when a manager or executive leaves.

What is a succession planning system?

In making a succession planning template, there are number of stages involved. These include the following;

  • In the future, the identification of key roles and business challenges.
  • On the basis of critical competencies, the evaluation and selection of employees.
  • The establishment of employees to fill positions in the future.

Here are some steps to consider while creating a business succession plan template for your succession planning system;


The strategy makes sense to link succession planning to make a succession planning outline. Moreover, you can do following things with a good strategy;

  • A good strategy allows you to define your future goals and challenges. This gives you information about the roles you required to move forward.
  • You can determine the negative effects on your company due to the absence of key positions. This assists in verifying the competency knowledge and skills that are critical to the continuity of your business.
  • It provides you an opportunity to engage your senior leaders in the process. This helps your staff in understanding their roles.
  • You can keep record of key positions that may become vacant. This way, you can create a more specific succession timeline.


Make a list of candidates depending on their potential for leadership roles. The selection process must be completely fair. It should also depend on a standardized process for evaluation and criteria related to critical competencies including each employee’s potential in the future.

After that, you can start making strategies for training. This fits the competencies that each candidate should develop. To accommodate development opportunities, you just have to adjust the workloads or schedules of some candidates. Some candidates may also have the qualifications to fill the position that isn’t unfilled yet without having to undergo further training, certification, or education.


You should review and update your plans on daily basis. This allows you to monitor your progress and meet your milestones. It is suggested to make a timeframe that will fit with your upcoming vacancies and strategic plans. This should also contain contingencies if an unexpected transition occurs.

Steps in succession planning:

Here are the steps in succession planning;

  • At first, you have to determine the key groups or positions in your company, both existing and in the future. You have to pay attention on determining the positions not the candidates.
  • After that, you have to list all of the competencies such as the positions, not the candidates. For these positions, select those employees who are perfectly suited for the roles and make a list. You can do this by reviewing relevant job descriptions and merit criteria. Then, conduct an interview of former and current job incumbents.
  • For a specific position, succession planning assists candidates who express great enthusiasm to develop the requisite skills. A good succession plan, before the formal recruitment process, includes mentoring the candidates.
  • In your board succession planning, after listing relevant candidates for the role, you should ensure that the employees on the list have access to learning equipment and development opportunities. However, modern succession planning typically depends on mentoring and educating potential applicants.

How to write a succession plan?

Here are the steps that serve as a guide for you while creating your succession planning outline;

Be a proactive planner:

There is possibility that one of the hard-working members of your team has plans of leaving. You may get caught off-guard by potential disorienting departure of your member. Therefore, you require a board succession planning template.

Identify your candidates:

To cover up the departure of your employees, you should select team members who have the potential to take the positions they left behind. Obviously, the successor will be the individual who is next in line in the organizational chart. You should also consider more deserving and promising employees. Select those who have the necessary skills to thrive in the vacated position. Also, don’t focus on the title they currently hold.

Inform the potential candidates:

In a private meeting, you should inform each employee that you are selecting them out for a higher position. Develop an understanding that due to circumstances, there are no guarantees and that their position will change.

Help them improve:

You have to invest in the professional development of those you have selected in an ideal setting. You can do this effectively through job rotation. This helps your potential candidates in gaining additional experience and knowledge.

Perform a trial run:

There is no need for a staffing crisis to make sure whether an employee has the qualifications to get a higher role. Rather than this, you should have a potential successor to observe some obligations of the new position. This provides the employee an opportunity to gain valuable experience. This also appreciates the opportunity to indicate their stuff.

Combine your plan into your recruitment strategy:

After identifying the successors for the critical roles in your company, you should pay attention to any talent gaps they will leave behind. This assists you in determining that where you have to pay attention to your recruiting efforts in the future.

Focus on who will take your place too:

Once in a life you may also leave your position and your role also require backfilling. Therefore, you should also include your own position while creating a succession plan for your company.

Why should use a succession planning template?

You should use a succession planning template as it makes sure that when a manager or executive leaves, you have a suitable replacement on hand. It protects the company from sudden dismissals or resignations to retirement and unforeseen events. You can build towards longevity by lining up potential candidates to fill a vacant role in the future.

Businesses who suffer from high employee turnover may experience disastrous outcomes. A significant amount of time and resources are taken to train newly hired employees. However, you fill any unforeseen vacancies with the ideal candidates by using a template and filling out a plan. It saves you money on hiring costs and the time you spend without a senior manager gets decreased.

In addition, succession planning is a great way to boost worker management. Employees stay on with the company by having the clear possibility of promotion incentivizes. It also provides them an effective way to look forward to.


In conclusion, a succession plan template is a useful document that helps you in selecting qualified individuals and promoting them to higher roles within your company. You can analyze these employees early in their careers with the help of constant evaluations and observations. Additionally, this document assists you in identifying critical roles in your company and then trains employees to fill those roles.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which model is used most in succession planning?

The nine box grid succession planning model is used most in succession planning. In this model, a grid is used to evaluate a candidate’s potential for several roles. This grid consists of nine boxes in which candidates are categorized as per their suitability for a role. You split the information into the following brackets;

1- High potential
2- Medium potential
3- Low potential

Does my company require a succession plan?

A succession plan is required by every business owner having a successful and profitable company. A succession plan in the event of loss of leadership makes sure that your business continues to thrive.

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