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Succession Planning 2.0: building bench through better execution

Allan H. Church (VP Organization Development & Executive Assessment at the PepsiCo, Purchase, New York, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




This paper aims to present nine observations about the state of succession planning and talent management (TM) practices today along with recommendations and an integrated model for enhancing the effectiveness of these efforts. Many talent management practitioners today would agree that the succession planning processes in their organizations are limited in their effectiveness. They are often seen as another complex and time-consuming human resource (HR) process, and often paper exercise, to be completed and archived until the following year. This is due to several factors, including a lack of focus on the future capabilities needed; inconsistencies in the implementation of processes designed; limited system integration of talent and succession planning efforts with other key HR and business processes; and lack of accountability for making decisions and ensuring they are fully executed. Given the importance of identifying, developing and preparing leaders for the future success of the business this is quite concerning. What is needed in the field is an upgrade to Succession Planning 2.0. But what does that look like exactly? What can senior practitioners do to transform them to have a significantly greater impact going forward?


The content here is based on inputs from a variety of sources including dialog with more than 50 heads of talent management in major corporations, discussions and reviews at professional conferences, debates with academic scholars and the author’s personal experience with designing and leading major succession planning efforts.


Nine observations about the state of succession planning and talent management practices today are presented. An integrated model of Succesion Planning execution is introduced.


This paper represents the authors’ unique synthesis of discussions, informal data and personal experience running succession planning (SP) and TM efforts for over a decade.



H. Church, A. (2014), "Succession Planning 2.0: building bench through better execution", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 233-242.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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