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Succession Planning for Recruitment

Succession Planning for Recruitment

Written by Gordon Stoddart

Last edited May 3, 2023

Succession Planning for Recruitment

Part 2 of our Succession Planning month, we look at the steps you need to take to set up and effectively implement a sound succession plan.Welcome to the first part of an exciting new strategy we’re attempting for the coming months and hopefully the future (providing it goes well) – We’ll be looking at some of the most interesting and relevant issues, themes and subjects in the recruitment industry and dedicating a whole month to it! This gives us the ability to really deep dive the subject matter and produce a fantastic amount of value adding content, for you!

For our first month, November, we’re looking at Succession planning in the recruitment industry. It’s a fascinating subject and we feel very important to recruiters who want to effectively scale and retain talent. It all comes down to the art of preparing for the future and covering all your bases, because if you’re not prepared when it all goes wrong it’s going to hurt.

The month will be comprised of 4 different articles, firstly we’re looking at Succession planning in Recruitment; what is it, should you have a plan a great in-depth overview which leads us into the second week. How to write a succession plan, we’ll be looking at what makes a great succession plan and how to create an effective one for your business, leading us onto an important questions that’ll arise in the third week. Internal vs External Succession planning, do you hire a successor for the role externally or nurture internally and finally we’ll be doing a little bit of myth busting and problem solving with week four. Issues in Succession Planning and how to fix them, there’s a lot of misconceptions and issue within succession planning and we’ll how to put an emergency plan in place if it all goes wrong!

Succession Planning in Recruitment

Welcome to the first blog in our succession planning month. This is part of a brand new content strategy we’re starting. We’ll be covering some of the hottest topics in recruitment and leadership each month, trying to really dig in deep and produce valuable content you can use in your recruitment business.

In the last 15 years, The Recruitment Network has worked with hundreds of recruitment businesses with aspirations of growth. Without exception those who make it have a proactive talent management plan and effective succession planning.  As a people dependant business, our performance and growth comes from having the right people achieving, with the appropriate strength with depth of management to engage and inspire performance and loyalty.

What is succession planning?

A succession plan in the simplest sense, is a plan to map out successors for business critical roles moving forward. It’s a plan for the future which should reflect and be aligned to the business plan.

Succession planning is achieved by identifying:

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How to Write a Bulletproof Succession Plan

Here in part 2 we’re going to delve into how to write and implement a succession plan in your business, from identifying the roles, defining the ‘gold standard’ of the role, deciding who will best fit that role then putting in the right objectives to achieving a solid succession plan.


There is no such a thing as a finished succession plan. It is a working document and should be ever evolving as the successors and the business develops. It’s also not something that should only be reviewed annually, it requires updating and work throughout the year.

This isn’t just for the Directors.

Depending on the size of your business, each succession plan will look different but don’t dismiss succession planning for all roles below senior management and executives, it’s not just for the top bosses. It’s best to think of it more like a comprehensive contingency plan to safeguard your business against the ill effects of staff turnover and to enable growth.

Although succession planning is designed to safeguard your business when critical employees move on and up, it gives you the chance to develop and invest in your other staff, which will promote and encourage positive culture and engagement within your team.

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Internal vs External Succession Planning

his month we’re tackling the subject matter of succession planning, where we’ll be looking at what succession planning is, how to make a great succession plan, what happens when it all goes wrong and more. We continue the month by looking Internal vs External Succession Planning.

It’s important to have a solid succession plan in place to avoid potential risk caused by business-critical employees exiting the company. Yet an important question that arises is; ‘Should we hire a successor externally or nurture a successor internally?’.

It’s an interesting question that will vary depending on a variety of factors, from the cost of an external hire vs. internal, the downtime, training and whether they would be a right fit.

It’s not clean cut – Optimal productivity

£25,181 is the average cost to business of the downtime period between a business-critical employee leaving and their new successor (hired or promoted) reaching their optimal performance. according to a study by Oxford Economics, 2014.

This means that you’ll very rarely get a smooth transition no matter how perfect your succession plan is whether you internally or externally fill the position.

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Issues in Succession Planning and How to Solve Them

In the final instalment of our succession planning month, we are going to discuss misconceptions and issues faced in succession planning, and how you can work through them to successfully plan for an exit of a business-critical employee.

Why is succession planning important?

With the ever-changing markets and uncertainty in the economy currently, there has never been a more important time to be prepared for every eventuality and being prepared for the future is essential when it comes to developing your recruitment business.

Succession planning is a process of preparing a structured plan to protect your business against the ill effects of staff turnover. Despite thinking “it won’t happen to us”, staff do leave companies. They may decide to move to a different area of the country or leave the country completely, they may leave to have children or to retire, all of which are outside of your control…

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