Succession Planning

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The Role of Talent Management in Succession Planning

Talent Management and succession planning is critical to the healthy, long-term growth of any organisation. It minimises risk, gives a consistent approach to leadership development and helps you retain key talent. Hanover’s succession planning solutions can help you create a robust talent pipeline that ensures future success.

How robust is your succession planning strategy?

Your people are your business, and it’s critical that as a business, you create an environment where people want to stay and grow in their career. Without this, you risk:

  • Losing diverse talent

  • Losing long-standing, experienced and knowledgeable leaders

  • Negatively impacting engagement and motivation in your employees

  • Lacking leadership capability – technically and behaviourally – with the ability to step into more senior roles when necessary

  • Spending more money and time on finding the right candidate for the role

As part of your workforce planning and business continuity strategy, you should include a succession planning strategy to ensure you have a focused and consistent approach to identifying and developing your high potentials, talent and future leaders early on. This will help you to address the key risks outlined above.

Tap into our proven succession planning framework

When looking at CEO succession in 2021, an HBR survey found that 53% of companies did not have a succession planning strategy in place. 41% did not have regular discussions about this succession, and 54% did not have an effective process in place to replace them should the need arise. 

Extrapolate that down through senior leadership teams and beyond, and it doesn’t bode well for having a robust corporate succession plan in place. In fact, Gartner’s 2020 research indicated that while 79% of companies had development profiles for succession, only 49% formally assessed for talent succession. This leaves a cavernous hole which biases – conscious or unconscious – can creep into, raising questions about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

At Hanover, we have extensive experience working with organisations to create robust succession plans and development interventions that enable leaders to continue to build on their strengths and close development gaps. Our assessment work feeds into our leadership development programmes to help organisations better understand their high potential employees and how ready they might be to step into a more senior role. We also add a DE&I lens through all that we do to ensure you have a diverse talent pool from which to draw.

Maecenas vitae

Why choose Hanover’s succession planning solutions

Our succession planning model takes a holistic view to ensure that clear Succession plans are in place for key roles, and that roles are back-filled so as not to leave you any gaps.

We look three to five years out and define and align what good leadership looks like. We take into consideration both current and future needs of your business, which ensures your leaders have the capabilities to meet future challenges your organisation may face.

We combine robust, evidence-based succession planning solutions assessments with supportive solutions that enhance your development programmes and talent management practices. Our consultants are also hugely experienced and credible with a commercial focus, coupled with a down-to-earth, pragmatic style.

Hanover’s succession planning framework

BENCHMARKING: We help you to define what good looks like in your organisation by creating a leadership behavioural framework against which to benchmark your leaders (if you don’t have that already).

ASSESSING: We then use a combination of interventions, including psychometrics, a semi-structured interview and observed behavioural measures e.g. 360 degree feedback and/or role plays, to assess your leaders potential and readiness to step into a more senior role.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Your leaders then receive an in-depth development report and feedback session which incorporates development planning, providing them with a personal, tailored developmental experience, including (where appropriate) 1:1 coaching with one of our qualified coaches.

GROUP DEVELOPMENT: From an organisational perspective, we produce a composite report with development recommendations and then host a succession planning strategy meeting with you to discuss the findings and create robust succession plans and development programmes. This can include utilising some of our off-the-shelf development modules or ‘masterclasses’, or designing bespoke leadership development programmes for different levels of leadership. We also offer individual and group coaching to complement our programmes.

Case Study - Developing Senior Leadership

Situation & Approach

The CEO and Chair of Dudley Building Society recognised the need for leadership development and a robust succession plan for executive roles. They also saw a big gap between the EXCO and the levels below; leaders were too reactive and focused on delivery.

The CEO and Head of HR asked us to help them understand what leadership capabilities they would need to meet future challenges. These included growth opportunities, evolving customer needs and increased regulatory pressure.

Working directly with the CEO and Chair we:

  • Spoke to key stakeholders to understand and align their different perspectives on high-performance

  • Defined leadership expectations applicable to all leadership levels

  • Completed a pilot with two executive leaders, including the Head of HR

  • Went on to assess the remaining EXCO members and board, including non-executive directors

  • Helped the EXCO and the board to understand succession strength using qualitative and quantitative insights

  • Informed the design of a bespoke development programme


Feedback from both participants and sponsors has been hugely positive. 

We continue to work with the executive team and board through regular workshops and other activities to support the selection and development of talent.


“Whilst leadership and talent development has been at the forefront of my approach to leadership development for many years as an executive, it has been really insightful taking this into a broader perspective. 

Many Financial Services businesses have struggled to properly assess objectively the breadth of their skills at different leadership levels. Hanover’s work has given us new insights into the broader skills of our leaders. 

This is enabling us to better seek out and fill skills gaps beyond the usual knowledge and competency based approach, moving to one which includes leadership behaviours and impact.” 

- Peter Hubbard – Chair, Dudley Building Society

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