Succession planning tools

Best Succession Planning Tools in 2024

According to McKinsey, an astonishing 83% of global leaders feel inadequately prepared for their impending duties. But surprisingly, only 35% of organizations have established a structured succession planning procedure for pivotal positions.

The result? Unprepared leaders, prepared for failure. 

A study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB)  found that 50% to 70% of executives fail within 18 months of taking on a role, whether external hires or internal promotions.

This is why you need succession planning. Succession planning is a strategic process that identifies and nurtures individuals to step into key leadership roles. This not only safeguards the continuity of your business but also fuels its growth by ensuring a seamless transition of leadership at all levels. This strategic endeavor acknowledges the inevitability of change and prepares organizations to adapt to market fluctuations, embrace technological advancements, or respond to unforeseen crises. 

In this blog, we will guide you on how you can empower your future leadership with succession planning tools and strategies.

Challenges Organizations Face Without Proper Succession Strategies

The absence of effective succession planning strategies can expose your organization to a plethora of challenges that can hinder growth and stability. Let’s take a quick look into these challenges and understand how  a well-structured succession plan is essential for addressing them and how a tool helps you.

1. Sudden leadership gaps leading to operational disruptions

When a key leader departs without a designated successor, it can trigger operational chaos. The absence of a seamless transition plan might lead to confusion, disarray, and inefficiencies, ultimately impacting the organization’s performance and its ability to meet its objectives. With a clear overview of high-potential employees succession planning tools facilitate the identification and development of potential leaders across the organization

2. Shortage of qualified candidates for critical roles

Without a strategic approach to grooming future leaders, organizations may find themselves grappling with a shortage of skilled individuals prepared to take on critical positions. This scarcity hinders growth prospects and impedes the organization’s ability to remain competitive. Succession planning tools enable organizations to identify skill gaps in advance and create targeted development plans.

3. Disengagement and turnover due to lack of growth opportunities

Employees are more likely to stay engaged and committed when they perceive growth opportunities within the organization. Without clear paths for career advancement, talented individuals may seek greener pastures, resulting in turnover and the loss of valuable expertise. By providing a clear view of advancement opportunities, succession planning enables organizations to map out career paths and growth trajectories for employees. 

4. Inadequate skills to address future business challenges

Organizations without a succession plan might find themselves ill-equipped to navigate changing market dynamics and emerging industry trends. With predictive analytics, succession planning tools help anticipate future skill requirements based on industry trends and organizational goals.

5. Missed opportunities due to inability to innovate and adapt

Leadership continuity is crucial for fostering innovation and adaptability. Without new leaders who can bring fresh perspectives and drive change, organizations risk missing out on opportunities to innovate and capitalize on emerging trends. Succession planning tools enable organizations to groom innovative thinkers who can adapt to change and drive transformation. 

6. Disruptions in operations and customer relationships during transitions

A lack of proper succession planning can disrupt not only internal operations but also customer relationships. Customers might be accustomed to a certain level of service, and sudden changes in leadership can lead to inconsistencies, affecting customer trust and loyalty. By providing guidance on responsibilities and expectations, succession planning tools mitigate disruptions, ensuring a consistent customer experience. 

7. Talented employees lacking development opportunities

Talented employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Without a plan to develop their skills and nurture their potential, you  risk losing these valuable assets to competitors who offer better growth prospects. Succession planning guides an employee’s growth journey, demonstrating your commitment to their growth and reducing the risk of losing them.

8. High costs associated with external recruitment and training

When succession plans are absent, organizations often resort to external recruitment, which can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, the need to train new hires intensively can further strain resources. By identifying and nurturing potential leaders from within, these tools minimize recruitment expenses and accelerate the onboarding process.

Top 6 Succession Planning Tools 

1. UKG Pro Succession Planning Tool

UKG Pro Succession

The UKG Pro Succession Planning Tool is a strategic tool designed to address seamless leadership transition. By facilitating the identification, development, and readiness of potential successors, this tool helps create valuable people assets for organizational stability. It offers robust features, a user-friendly interface, and aims to empower organizations to ensure a smooth and effective transition of leadership roles. 

Notable Features 

  1. Fosters Individual Strengths

The UKG Pro platform enables employees to develop their distinct talents that significantly contribute to the organization’s success through personalized development plans. Within the tool, individuals can acquire the necessary skills and competencies, nurturing their career growth and personal fulfillment.

  1. Uncovers Emerging Leaders

The UKG Pro Succession feature provides a comprehensive understanding of both current talent and future potential within the organization. This tool facilitates effortless discovery, tracking, and comparison of individuals, pinpointing and evaluating potential successors tailored for specific roles.

  1. Provides Comprehensive Talent Insights

It has robust people analytics and reporting capabilities that empower well-informed decisions concerning talent mobility across the organization. This functionality offers a holistic view of the workforce, all conveniently accessible within a unified platform.

Pros of UKG Pro 

  • UKG Pro offers a wide array of functions, including file storage, payroll processing, income tax management, onboarding, and compliance training. 
  • The successful integration of UKG with other systems for payroll processing is an added advantage. 
  • It has a user-friendly interface that caters to both employees and administrators, enhancing accessibility and usability.

Cons of UKG Pro

  • UKG has a learning curve that can be challenging to navigate. Users feel a distinction between Dimensions and PRO features, even after integration, which requires additional time for them to become proficient.
  • The onboarding process, while comprehensive, presents a drawback in terms of complexity. The requirement for multiple websites and logins for various components of the process can create confusion and administrative burden.

2. SAP SuccessFactors Succession & Development 

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The SAP SuccessFactors Succession & Development Tool helps organizations enhance the efficiency of their succession planning endeavors. It offers valuable visibility and planning capabilities, enabling strategic support for future growth initiatives, identification, cultivation, and readiness of potential successors. 

Notable Features 

  1. Talent Identification

The tool enables the identification of high-potential individuals, spotlighting those who possess the necessary skills, competencies, and qualities required for effective leadership roles. The robust analytics and reporting functionalities provide actionable insights, enabling data-driven decision-making for succession planning and talent development.

  1. Talent  Pools

Through intuitive interfaces, the tool facilitates the creation and management of succession pools, ensuring a well-prepared lineup of potential successors for critical roles.

  1. Development Plans

SAP offers tailored development plans for individuals, mentorship, addressing skill gaps and aligning growth paths with leadership requirements.

Pros of SAP 

  • The integration of payroll and talent management features offers a holistic view of employee management, streamlining processes and enhancing overall efficiency.
  • SAP SuccessFactors, the tool provides deeper insights into employees’ organizational behavior, enabling better decision-making and strategic planning.
  • It offers robust capabilities to easily monitor and track progress, the tool enhances transparency and facilitates effective performance management processes.

Cons of SAP 

  • According to G2 reviews, one potential downside of this tool is that it might inadvertently encourage individuals to concentrate solely on particular goals.
  • There is room for improvement in UI, as it could be more intuitive and user-friendly.
  • The integration process and ongoing maintenance of SAP SuccessFactors with other systems can pose challenges in terms of time and resources.

3. Succession Wizard

Succession Wizard

Succession Wizard enables organizations with streamlining the succession planning process. It recognizes potential gaps in succession and aids in strategizing future staffing requirements. By assisting in identifying and grooming potential successors, this tool becomes a strategic asset in maintaining an effective leadership pipeline.

Notable Features 

  1. Customized Development Plans

Organizations can create tailored development plans for potential successors, addressing specific skill gaps and aligning growth with leadership requirements.

  1. Talent Identification

The tool aids in identifying high-potential individuals within the organization who possess the skills and competencies necessary for future leadership roles.

  1. Succession Pools

The tool facilitates the creation and management of succession pools, ensuring a prepared pool of potential successors for critical positions.

Pros of Succession Wizard

  • Succession Wizard offers user-friendly UI, coupled with features that intuitively guide users through various succession planning tasks. 
  • It offers a seamless experience and facilitates tasks such as evaluating employee performance, pinpointing skill deficiencies, and monitoring career advancement, along with other essential metrics.

Cons of Succession Wizard

  • Succession Wizard’s focus on succession planning excludes other comprehensive HR functions, potentially requiring integration with broader HR systems.
  • Certain users seek greater flexibility in tailoring the software to align with their organization’s unique succession planning needs. 

4. PeopleFluent

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PeopleFluent is a comprehensive tool designed to identify, nurture, and propel future leaders. From talent identification to personalized growth pathways, PeopleFluent empowers organizations to harness data-driven insights and make informed decisions, ensuring a prosperous future by cultivating the leaders of tomorrow.

Notable Features 

  1. Talent Pipeline

PeopleFluent Succession Planning software enables you to identify hidden gems and cultivate them into guiding lights. It allows you to scout for emerging leaders and also nurtures their growth from within, fostering a comprehensive talent pipeline.

  1. Balancing Data and Soft Skills

The tool helps in accessing leadership potential by incorporating both quantifiable outcomes and intangible soft skills, providing a comprehensive understanding of your future leaders.

  1. Identify Gaps and Adapt

PeopleFluent’s robust functionality empowers you to delve into your organizational landscape, identify gaps in leadership readiness, and tailor succession plans to align with your talent pool and strategic objectives.

Pros of PeopleFluent

  • PeopleFluent Succession Planning system effectively facilitates the tracking of staff and potential successors, providing a structured approach to mapping out career trajectories. It serves as a comprehensive solution for HR planning and operations.
  • Staff members can set and monitor goals, fostering a culture of engagement and accountability during manager 1:1s.
  • PeopleFluent Succession Planning embraces an internal talent assessment approach, recognizing and nurturing the existing talent pool to fill various roles based on merit.

Cons of PeopleFluent 

  • It is equipped with the necessary tools for planning and mapping out strategies. However, due to its specialized and standalone nature, users find it slightly more challenging to grasp compared to the familiar tools. 
  • It demands a significant time investment.

5. Plum

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Plum is a robust tool that helps organizations with employee engagement, development, creating a robust talent pool and retention, leveraging the intuitive personal insights. 

Notable Features 

  1. Empower Employee Potential

Empowering employees, Plum provides access to a myriad of resources catering to their passions and easing the burdens. Via a self-guided resource repository, Plum fosters career growth, allowing employees to thrive.

  1. Talent Flow

Plum seamlessly pinpoints top contenders across departments and fill positions internally. It helps you stay aligned with shifting job requirements, sourcing talent within to seamlessly cater to business demands.

  1. Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce

Plum facilitates the recognition of leadership potential in employees primed for pivotal roles. By removing biases from succession planning and harnessing Plum’s Talent data, effortlessly strategize for organizational chart adjustments.

Pros of Plum 

  • It offers great scalability.
  • It has an attractive interface which enhances the experience, and categorizing Top Talents, Work Style, and Work Preferences strategically boosts tool usage.

Cons of Plum

  • While comprehensive, it lacks regional data filters, crucial for localized branches or small offices requiring employees from the same region.
  • Generating candidate result reports isn’t straightforward and takes considerable effort.

6. Saba (Cornerstone) 

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Saba is a comprehensive approach to talent management. It seamlessly integrates cloud-based solutions, expert services, and a thriving community. From performance management to learning and development, succession and leadership, compensation, and recruiting, Saba TalentSpace™ offers a unified solution. 

Notable Features 

  1. Performance Management

Saba offers a versatile performance management solution, crafted to foster an environment of continuous feedback and coaching. It seamlessly aligns, engages, and empowers your workforce to accomplish the business outcomes that matter most.

  1. Succession and Leadership Empowerment

Saba TalentSpace Succession helps you cultivate robust leadership capabilities and skilled professionals across critical business domains. It helps you create competency-driven talent pools to nurture top-tier potential, ensuring an engaged, and committed workforce.

  1. Learning and Skill Development

Saba offers learning and development features that equip you with the essential tools to cultivate a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also deeply engaged. This impactful learning solution seamlessly interconnects on-the-job learning, continuous coaching, and formal learning activities, directly aligning with your overarching business strategy.

Pros of Saba

  • Saba serves as a comprehensive virtual training center, simplifying the training process. From tracking completions to saving progress, the platform offers a unified solution for seamless training
  • It offers personalized learning experience by providing you the ability to highlight crucial training modules at the top of the Learning Library and tailor automatic replies. 
  • Saba offers customization options that empower you to tailor the system to their unique needs. Additional features can be added based on budget allowances, ensuring a personalized solution.

Cons of Saba

  • The customer service for Saba appears to be lacking, potentially affected by the system’s ownership by a larger company, leading to a perceived shift in priority.
  • It comes with a learning curve before you get acclimated to using the tool.

10 Tried & Tested Succession Planning Strategies

Ensuring a seamless transition of leadership is paramount for sustained growth and progress. Let’s take a look at some of the effective strategies that empower you to identify, nurture, and prepare potential successors. 

  1. Talent Pipeline Development

A fundamental approach in successful succession planning is the creation of a talent pipeline dedicated to nurturing high-potential employees for forthcoming leadership positions.

Identify individuals who exhibit the essential skills, competencies, and potential necessary for effective leadership. Through targeted development initiatives, these potential successors can be groomed to seamlessly assume key positions, ensuring a continuous flow of capable leaders within the organization.

  1. Identifying Key Roles and Competencies

This is an integral step in the succession planning process recognizing pivotal roles within the organization and pinpointing the specific competencies necessary for it. By comprehensively understanding the skills, knowledge, and attributes essential for success in each role, you can strategically align succession planning efforts to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

  1. Cross-Training and Job Rotation

Facilitating cross-training and job rotation initiatives offers employees invaluable chances to garner expertise across various departments and roles. This practice not only widens their skill repertoire but also exposes them to diverse facets of the business. 

Cross-Training and Job Rotation

By familiarizing themselves with different functions, employees become better equipped for future roles, armed with a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s operations.

  1. Mentorship and Coaching Programs

Implement mentorship and coaching programs that pairs potential successors with seasoned mentors or coaches from the senior leadership team. This strategy facilitates the transfer of knowledge, hones essential skills, and offers invaluable guidance for career progression. Through these relationships, aspiring leaders gain insights, learn from experience, and receive personalized support that prepares them to step confidently into future leadership roles.

  1. Individualized Development Plans
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Creating individual development plans for high-potential employees is a pivotal strategy that is based on an individual’s strengths, areas for improvement, and career aspirations. By tailoring learning opportunities to target specific skill gaps and bolster leadership attributes, you can ensure that potential successors receive personalized guidance to flourish in their roles.

  1. Performance Management Alignment

By integrating performance management and succession planning, you can ensure that leadership potential is a key factor in performance assessments. This alignment not only reinforces the connection between performance and leadership readiness but also ensures that the right individuals are being groomed to drive the organization’s future success.

  1. 360-Degree Feedback

Employing a 360-degree feedback approach includes collecting input from peers, subordinates, and supervisors to evaluate an employee’s aptitude for leadership. This comprehensive feedback mechanism offers a well-rounded perspective on an individual’s strengths and growth areas. 

Tools like Peoplebox, offer extensive features for 360 degree reviews and feedback. By collecting insights from various angles, you gain a thorough understanding of potential successors, aiding in their development journey and enhancing their readiness for leadership roles.

  1. Continuous Learning Culture

Nurturing an environment of continuous learning encourages employees to actively pursue growth opportunities. Provide resources, online courses, and support for skill enrichment. By fostering this culture, employees are empowered to develop their abilities and remain adaptable in an ever-evolving business landscape.

  1. Defining Leadership Attributes

Clearly outlining the leadership behaviors and qualities that align with your organization’s values and objectives is essential. These criteria serve as benchmarks for evaluating potential successors and guiding their growth. By identifying the traits that resonate with your organizational ethos, you ensure that your leadership pipeline is aligned with your strategic aspirations.

  1. Transparent Communication

Transparently communicating the significance of succession planning to employees across all tiers of the organization is crucial. By maintaining openness about the criteria and procedures used to select future leaders, organizations foster a sense of clarity and inclusivity.


While it is clear that mastering the art of succession planning is the key to maintaining uninterrupted growth, the path to bridging the leadership gap and ensuring a seamless transfer of responsibilities can be difficult. These tools help you navigate difficult seas with ease and offer features that do more than just improve your succession planning. 

To see how well a tool can help your succession planning, you can take a personalized demo with Peoplebox. Take the next step towards securing your organization’s leadership future. Schedule a demo today!

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