Emerging Succession Management Practices that Increase Fairness and Broaden Succession Pools In a Measurable Way.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
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This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Succession Management practices.

What it is

Emerging succession management is a refined and enterprise-wide endeavor in which the company proactively identifies a broad range of future leaders and critical skills professionals who might be years away from filling an executive role. Such early identification drives the use of “pools” of potential superstars as HIPOs and future successors. It helps create a talent development culture where senior management and executives are both aware of and boost the careers of the best and brightest in the organization.

It is enabled by technology, with systems that both manage and (especially when employing Artificial Intelligence (AI)) further democratize the process by automatically identifying potential successors from across the organization and recommending development roles and programs to enhance their capabilities further. It engages leaders in the process in such a way that drives their ownership of its success. It creates an environment where generating and managing top talent is widely championed and shared across functional, geographic, and business unit lines as an essential enterprise resource.   

At this level, succession management embraces talent reviews, which are comprehensive discussions of a broad array of high-impact roles, high-performing and potential employees, talent-shifting scenarios, and development opportunities to be filled by targeted employees. Continuously linked to business strategies and objectives, it also involves measuring processes, status, and outcomes to track and monitor plans made during the sessions involving dozens of top leaders.

Why use it 

The value of emerging succession management lies primarily in its ability to promote talent growth of the most valued individuals and, ultimately, entire job families/functions. By identifying, discussing, and developing talent earlier in their careers, more employees can be groomed for a broader range of roles, both vertical and lateral job opportunities across traditional functional “silos,” enabling movement that balances high potential talent across the organization while better preparing future leaders with cross-functional experiences.

It includes a proactive reach into talent communities (internal and external) in addition to leader nominations to enable the identification of otherwise “hidden” talent and future stars more fairly and transparently. It leverages advanced talent technologies that provide intelligent matching, development, and career planning capabilities. It uses technology and standardized employee completions of comprehensive talent profiles to generate recommendations for future successors and employee career paths. Talent review sessions are used to discuss candidates while supporting talent sharing more evenly across organizational and functional lines. The full benefit is realized when a larger pool of highly qualified candidates is put on pathways to more responsible roles and assignments with accelerated readiness as executive and critical roles become vacated.

Substantial value is created using simulations for future planning, where the talent implications of various possible business changes are identified and quantified. Requirements for adding, subtracting, or replacing critical roles can provide insights into how strategic plans may impact current resourcing and succession requirements. Fielding metrics and reporting related to the activities and outcomes of succession management helps drive greater focus on optimization and accountabilities.


Adopting these practices creates a robust, comprehensive, and equitable future-focused view of available talent relative to current and future business plans. It builds a culture of development, mobility, and advancement clearly aligned with business objectives and employee growth ambitions. It enables the planning for significant growth, upgrades, or changes to strategic business directions while democratizing access to career opportunities and greater longevity for all employees. These identify opportunities for individual employees based on their skills, experiences, and capabilities, regardless of their connections, while setting them up for enhanced networking and mentorship opportunities. They create stronger and more durable connections between HR data and talent decisions via enhanced technologies, bolstered through structured reviews/evaluations of all available talent and their contributions and suitability for more advanced or developmental roles. These use advanced planning and statistics to evaluate the talent impacts of potential business or operational changes and the value returned by the range of succession activities.

Practice guides at this level

Going deep in the organization with larger talent pools of potential succession candidates.

Identifying and developing potential leadership talent earlier in a career, with a focus on multiple nomination techniques to create "pools" of future leaders.

Leveraging AI technology for automated identification and planning for more equitably developed succession pools.

Using datasets, AI, and machine learning to better and more fairly identify succession candidates, conduct skill and competency assessments, and develop career development and pathing recommendations.

Conducting robust and impactful group talent reviews for increased equity and fairness.

Developing a structured process with a tiered progression of meetings to increase the objectivity, transparency, awareness, and fairness of employee capability and potential assessments.

Using scenario planning for potential business and key personnel change situations.

Using scenario planning to leverage the information gleaned from talent reviews to plan not only the most likely replacement scenarios but also other more complex situations that arise with regularity.

Generating advanced succession execution and impact metrics.

Leveraging HR metrics and reporting to track and observe both the execution and impact/levels of success of the succession management process.

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