Headcount Planning

What is succession planning? (and why does it matter?)

Blog Author

by ChartHop Team

March 14th, 2021


The ChartHop Team

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught business leaders, it’s the importance of planning for the unexpected. 

When running a company, it can be easy to focus on the present. Especially now, during an international health crisis where everyone has had to adapt to new norms, the reactive tends to take precedence over the proactive.

Even the most menial of tasks, like scheduling calls, hosting virtual meetings, and running daily check-ins, are time consuming and can easily push planning off to the backburner. 

Regardless, it’s imperative to never lose sight of the future and have a surefire plan for mitigating uncertainty. 

Enter: succession planning -- the strategic process of planning for your company’s future, so no matter what comes your way, your leaders can handle it. Particularly when backfilling leadership positions, succession planning is vital for preparing for all contingencies and ensuring business success. 

Ready to take the next step in securing your company’s future? Keep reading to learn what business succession planning is and why it matters. 

What is Succession Planning? 

At its core, succession planning is the strategy and process of identifying and developing business leaders -- specifically C-Suite employees -- to potentially replace current ones. It’s about preparedness and agility, so that if the time comes, you know who could be promoted to fill those roles. 

It's important because things happen, even at the executive level. People leave to pursue new opportunities, get sick, and retire, leaving C-suite positions vacant to be filled. 

But unlike other, mid-level positions that provide a little more leeway on time-to-fill, executive roles have to be filled fast. Even more importantly, they have to be filled with the right people. That way, business operations can continue and everyone can take one step closer to success. 

A strong succession or career plan doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, this process starts with an in-depth understanding of your current organization and its players, its reporting structures and its knowledge sets. The more you know now, the better prepared you are to make strategic business decisions down the line. 

ChartHop skills mapping gives you clarity on employee's strengths

With ChartHop, you can map out your people's skills so you have more clarity into what knowledge and expertise is needed for each role.

And while this process of knowing your business inside and out seems complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Platforms like ChartHop make it easy to streamline your succession planning process from start to finish. By visualizing your entire business, ChartHop allows you to take stock of current roles, management positions, skills gaps and more. From there, you can intentionally plan for the future. 

Why does Succession Planning matter? 

Succession planning has various benefits that affect all parts of the business. It’s not just about backfilling C-suite positions.

Despite these benefits, only 54 percent of companies admit to actively engaging in succession planning. Don’t get caught unprepared -- here are three ways succession planning can help:

1. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the past and present 

You can’t prepare for the future if you don’t know where you came from and where you are now. Succession planning forces you to understand your business on a deeper level. In turn, you’re empowered to implement better business decisions immediately.

ChartHop org chart time travel


With ChartHop's org chart you can time travel to see how your org has changed over the years.

Tools like ChartHop arm you with a dynamic visualization of your entire organization. This goes beyond reporting structures -- with ChartHop, you can quickly see all of your people's data to run skills analyses, plan headcount, allocate budget and work strategically. 

When it comes to succession planning, ChartHop allows you to analyze current vacancies to drive recruitment strategies. For example, if your succession plan involves promoting a current Vice President, you’ll likely have to backfill their position.  

Ask yourself: 

  • Do you currently have the people in place to fill their vacant role? 
  • Or will you have to recruit externally? 
  • If so, what roles or skills can you recruit for now to make this process easier down the line? 

Whether it’s for driving recruitment tactics or general career planning, the more you know now, the more you can do to ensure future success. 

2. It promotes engagement and retention 

A strong succession plan requires investment in your current employees. This means assessing engagement and prioritizing professional development now. 

With ChartHop’s custom reports and tailored analytics, you can granularly examine patterns in engagement and performance. This includes:

  • Tenure 
  • KPIs, goals and objectives 
  • eNPS and engagement  
  • Promotion rates and career pathing 

These reports are especially helpful in implementing DEI initiatives. By parsing out data based on demographics, like race, gender, and ethnicity, you can identify trends and address issues that might be impacting marginalized groups of people on a larger scale. From there, you can course correct to assure inclusivity and create a better company culture.  

ChartHop People Analytics Reporting


Leverage ChartHop's people analytics reporting to gain robust insights on your business and the people who power it.

Using these analytics, you can also actively create an inclusive and equitable succession plan. This starts by prioritizing diversity on the employee level, which you can then carry over to the C-Suite. Especially when thinking about backfilling roles, you can use data to reduce bias in promotion rates, or strategically create opportunities for underrepresented groups, to ensure everyone’s voices are heard at the executive level.  

However you use your data, ChartHop can help you promote engagement and retention to fuel a successful succession plan. 

3. It mitigates risk down the line 

Executive-level turnover was the highest just two years ago, with an average executive tenure of just five years. Change happens, but succession planning does help you mitigate uncertainty. 

By intentionally making the plans now with a tool like ChartHop, your business is set for success when something does happen. This means: 

  • You don’t have to completely redesign your org chart to accommodate vacancies. ChartHop’s drag-and-drop features allow you to create new roles and tweak reporting structures in just a few clicks. 
  • You can source internally, opposed to externally. ChartHop makes it easy to quickly see your teams, their skills and where people could fit cross-functionally. 
  • Your people can continue hitting their goals and marching towards your company’s overall mission without disruption. ChartHop gives your people transparency to see what’s happening at the organizational level, so they have to context to continue doing their jobs.  

Plan Now, Lead With Confidence Later 

Paving the way for a successful succession plan starts now. Don’t wait on it -- take the time to really know your business and what’s happening underneath it all now, so you can plan accordingly. That way, when the time comes, you have the strategy and tools you need to backfill leadership positions quickly, so you can continue with business as usual.


Blog Author

Written by ChartHop Team

Headcount Planning

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