Succession Planning

Identifies and prepares external and internal successor candidates for key positions in your organisation

Protecting future leadership, mitigating risk, and ensuring a seamless transition to a new leader

When the time comes to replace senior executives, often external candidates are forgotten in the succession planning process. This is both a missed opportunity and a significant risk, potentially resulting in a lack of effective benchmarking or missing out on exceptional external leaders.

We have developed an effective, well-established methodology, supporting organisations in creating pools of external leadership candidates that complement internal succession plans. We assess internal candidates and benchmark them against external candidates, ensuring the best possible candidate selection.

The identification and evaluation of potential successor candidates are conducted with the same rigour as an executive search. We identify the leadership and personality traits demonstrated by high performers within your organisation and use the criteria to identify and assess external talent. As with any pipelining process, we manage the ongoing relationship with this key talent pool in the most professional and discreet manner.

Our goal is to create an external succession pool where candidates are at least as good as,  if not better than, the internal talent.

Our five step process

Meeting internal stakeholders and talent

We meet the line manager and other senior stakeholders to define the key requirements of the position and to plan a timetable for succession. We have a strong preference to meet the incumbent although this is not a mandatory part of the process.

At this stage, we also plan to meet any internal successor candidates the client has identified.

By meeting internal stakeholders and candidates, we learn what will make the most impactful succession process and the attributes of high performers within the organisation.

Search for external successor candidates

We carry out a search for external successors with the same thoroughness, structure, and discretion as an executive search for a live position. This extensive groundwork allows us to identify potential candidates who are not just qualified, but  exceptional.

The key difference is that potential succession candidates may wait months or even years for the succession opportunity to arise. The long-term nature of succession planning requires particularly intelligent communication and relationship building with external candidates along with careful management of their expectations.

Benchmarking internal & external talent

We apply the same assessment process and criteria to internal and external candidates alike to ensure consistency. This allows us to give you objective advice when it comes to grading and prioritising candidates across both pools.

The assessment process involves structured interviewing, referencing (both formal and informal) and psychometric testing. We assess each candidate's skills, experience, personality and potential to ensure they align not just with the specific needs of the position, but also the  culture of your organisation.

Mid-to long-term management of the succession pool

Whilst both external and internal candidates will have met you in advance of the position becoming vacant, the protracted nature of succession planning often create a risk of candidate flight. We will carefully manage each candidate professionally and honestly, building up a rapport on your behalf and ensuring they are fully briefed and updated, to ensure the best chance of all candidates remaining ‘warm’ and committed to the succession process.  

A Tailored recruitment journey

Every step of our recruitment process is tailored to meet the unique requirements of each role and client. We focus on creating a seamless, efficient, and effective journey, both for our clients and the candidates. This commitment to excellence ensures that we consistently deliver the best talent to drive your organisation forward.

Case study

Succession planning for a multinational telecoms firm

Our client wished to create external succession candidate pools for seven critical ExCo-2 global leadership positions in their consumer division. Committed to enhancing diversity at their senior levels of management, we were briefed to only identify and bring forward gender and ethnically diverse successor candidates.

his was a succession planning programme attempting to identify world-leading global talent across a wide range of technical and product disciplines, including cyber security, cloud, unified communications, and the internet-of-things.

Using a combination of desk research and industry networking, over three months we investigated more than 220 companies globally, across a wide range of company types, including multinational tech and software firms, telecommunication network operators and equipment vendors, systems integrators and ITS firms and digital businesses. We initially identified and profiled over 300 external potential successor candidates. As per our brief, we only included female and ethnically diverse potential candidates in our succession pipeline.

We engaged with a large number of the highest calibre potential candidates to establish their appetite for a future progression and to qualify them in detail against the key role criteria for each position.

We met, interviewed, and assessed any internal successor candidates and applied the same assessment criteria to this pool, to ensure consistency.

Following a detailed review with the stakeholders for each role, we were able to define succession talent shortlists containing both external and internal candidates for all seven mission-critical positions.