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Design a High-Value Succession Planning Program

Succession planning is complex. Take a systematic approach to address all the moving parts.

  • Only 45% of HR professionals report that their organization has a succession plan. Of those, only 21% report having a formal succession plan (SHRM, 2021).
  • Organizations focus on top management roles without evaluating which critical roles would add the most value to the organization.
  • Because the stakes are so high in succession planning, and because of its complexity, implementing it poorly can do more harm than good.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst.

  • Get on-demand project support
  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
  • Go through a Guided Implementation to help you get through your project

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Succession planning is a high-stakes, complex, and resource-intensive initiative. Maximize the value of succession planning to your organization by designing a systematic approach.

Impact and Result

  • Design a program that is value-driven, integrated, evidence-based, and inclusive to maximize value.
  • Ensure that leaders are accountable for conducting succession planning, with the support, process design, and facilitation of HR.

Workshop: Design a High-Value Succession Planning Program

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Set Program Direction

The Purpose

  • Set your succession planning project up right by establishing the program direction.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Program direction and key criteria are set.
  • Program is ready to move forward with design.




Articulate the need for succession planning.

  • Need for succession planning is established.

Identify enabling HR programs and gaps.

  • Enabling HR programs are evaluated.

Establish program goals and metrics.

  • Goals and metrics are determined.

Customize the Critical Role Identifier tool.

  • Critical Role Identifier is customized.

Module 2: Design the Succession Planning Process

The Purpose

  • Design your succession planning program.
  • Customize related tools and templates.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Succession planning program designed and ready for launch.
  • Tools and templates customized to the organization’s employees and critical roles.




Develop Success Profile Template and process.

  • Success Profile Template is developed.

Develop Talent Profile Template and process.

  • Talent Profile Template and process created.

Determine how to identify employees

  • Employee identification discussed and agreed upon

Define talent readiness and customize the Succession Plan Template.

  • Talent readiness criteria defined and Succession Plan Template customized.

Design successor identification process and meetings.

  • Successor identification process determined.

Module 3: Prepare for Program Launch & Communication

The Purpose

  • Prepare for the launch of the succession planning program by outlining logistics and communications.
  • Determine how institutional knowledge will be retained come vacancies.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Communication plan and logistics ready to launch.
  • Process to retain institutional knowledge is determined.




Outline successor development and knowledge transfer process.

  • Successor development and knowledge transfer process outlined.

Determine how critical roles will be filled.

  • Role placement methods determined.

Outline logistics for implementation and program management.

  • Program logistics and management are set.

Create communications.

  • Organization-wide communications are created.
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About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 10 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Set the program direction
  • Call 1: Identify gaps in enabling HR programs and identify steering committee members.
  • Call 2: Review program goals and metrics.
  • Call 3: Define stakeholder roles.

Guided Implementation 2: Design the succession planning process
  • Call 1: Develop critical role criteria, profile template, and process.
  • Call 2: Develop talent identification process, talent profile template, and process.
  • Call 3: Discuss talent calibration and talent review meeting design.
  • Call 4: Plan alignment of L&D and Talent Acquisition to succession planning.

Guided Implementation 3: Prepare to launch & manage the program
  • Call 1: Review communication plan.
  • Call 2: Discuss the logistics for program launch and management, including additional items that need to be built.
  • Call 3: Discuss program measurement, improvements, and iteration.


  • Amanda Mathieson, Senior Manager of Talent Management, Tangerine
  • Chris Toth, Manager of Workforce Planning, FedEx Freight
  • Gail Voisin, CEO, Gail Voisin Executive Coaching
  • Ilia Maor, Practice Lead of Research & Advisory Services, Enterprise Applications, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Jason Sage, HR Director, Caterpillar Inc.
  • John Figiel, Director of Talent Management, Sinai Health System
  • Lepora Menefee, VP of HR, NexGen People
  • Lori Kantymir, Manager of Learning & Development Solutions, McLean & Company
  • Maria Elena Aragon, Talent & Leadership Development Manager, DHL Express (Canada), Ltd.
  • Nadia Falcone, Talent Management Consultant, City of Ottawa
  • Tracy L. Chambers, Senior Manager, Talent & Organization, Accenture