Succession Planning Templates


Unexpected turnover is one of the most disruptive and costly parts of conducting business. This is especially true in today’s hiring landscape. On average you can expect to retain employees for 1-2 years, depending on the role and industry. In some cases you may even find that you lose candidates within a few months!

Rather then scrambling to find a new hire for a critical role in that short two weeks notice, start planning for a successful hire before you need to make that hire. We put together some succession planning templates to help you out.

You can download the succession planning templates for free here, or continue reading for more information and examples.

Download Free Templates!

Succession Planning Templates: Start with Assessments

The first step in succession planning for leadership positions is to evaluate the skills and traits needed. Now, each job will have different requirements, both for temperament and skill. For this exercise, you want to hone in on the qualities that someone in the job cannot do without.

The specific skills required to do a job will vary greatly, but deciding on the specific traits that your next hire will possess, will help you greatly in the candidate search. Once you have a complete list of the skill requirements for the role, such as Ruby on Rails for developers, or Adwords knowledge for online marketers, you’ll want to assess the role for which traits are most indispensable for success on the job.


  • Loves to lead.
  • Is willing to take an unpopular stand if necessary.
  • Encourages debate but isn’t afraid to move on to the next topic.
  • Is in control and looked to for direction during crises.
  • Loves to be challenged, but explains their decision making.
  • Acts decisively, but always whilling to listen


  • Seizes opportunities.
  • Consistently hard working.
  • Always pushing their limits and looking for ways to improve.
  • Action oriented.
  • Able improvise effectively on the fly.


  • Is able to remain objective despite pressure, preference or personal interest.
  • Makes their decisions based upon a mixture of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment.
  • Has a track record of solutions and suggestions being correct and accurate when judged over time
  • Are sought out by colleagues and superiors for advice and solutions.

Planning & Organizing

  • Can accurately assess the length and difficulty of tasks.
  • Sets and meets objectives and goals.
  • Develops schedules and task lists.
  • Knows to anticipate and adjust for problems.
  • Measures performance against goals.
  • Knows how to find resources (people, funding, material, support) to get the job done.
  • Can manage multiple activities that move towards a single goal.
  • Uses resources effectively and efficiently.


  • Gets along with and relates to all kinds of people.
  • Builds appropriate rapport and knows to use diplomacy with tact.
  • Can diffuse high-tension situations comfortably.
  • Ability to find common ground and solve problems.
  • Can represent his/her own interests and yet be fair to other groups.
  • Solves problems with peers with minimum noise.
  • Is cooperative and viewed as a valued team performer.
  • Is trustworthy and gains support of peers.
  • Encourages collaboration.


  • Takes ownership of the success of their work.
  • Pursues everything with energy, drive and a need to finish.
  • Rarely gives up before finishing, especially in the face of resistance or setbacks.

Political Savvy

  • Maneuvers through complex political situations effectively and quietly like a ninja.
  • Understands the sensitive nature that people and organizations function.
  • Knows where and how to avoid operational landmines, and can plan accordingly.
  • Views corporate politics as a necessary part of organizational life and adjusts to that reality.

Succession Planning Questionnaire and Retention Interview Template

Before getting into the nitty gritty of succession planning, however, you need to find out which positions are going to be vacated. To accomplish this, conduct retention interviews to lean of upcoming vacancies and begin preparing with our succession planning questionnaire.

The main goal of the retention interview is to get your employee to spill the beans. You want them to be 100% honest with you about their long term career goals, and where their job at your company fits in with that plan. Conducting these interviews in a fully transparent way, will give you a good idea of how long you can expect to retain each of your employees.

Retention interviews will reveal when your employees plan to leave, and why. Some of them may stay if you can resolve the problems they have with their working arrangements. Others will simply have career goals that don’t include your company.

No matter why an employee chooses to leave, explain that they’re making your job a whole lot easier by giving you a head start. If you can get at this valuable employee data, you can anticipate your hiring needs and meet those needs more effectively.

During the retention interview, you’ll want to ask your employee about their current experience at the company, why they first took the job, what they don’t like, as well as opportunities for growth and rewards. You’ll also want to check in with them about their career goals, and where you company fits into their 5 year plan.

Here’s a screenshot of the retention interview.


If you can conduct effective, consistent retention interviews, you will have much longer to prepare for your need to replace valuable employees. If you can identify the traits that are essential to success in the role and the skills that the role requires, you will be able to make a hire who can live up to or surpass their predecessor.

Download the succession planning templates for free here.

Download Free Templates!





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