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Part 2 - Identify Talent Pool and Gaps

With the priority leadership areas determined, identify the talent pool of candidates who may be part of the succession planning effort.  A talent pool may consist of external candidates (potential hires) and internal employees, early in their careers, from multiple organizational levels and/or with critical competencies.  A talent pool comprised of multiple organizational levels will ensure a deeper bench strength for the leadership pipeline.


Part 2 assesses internal competency and staffing resources to identify gaps for filling succession planning needs through employee recruitment, development and/or retention.


A comprehensive list of staff or classifications to develop in preparation to fill key leadership positions.

Steps to Accomplish the Deliverable

  1. Develop a communication plan for communicating and educating employees on succession planning, and the high risk key leadership positions identified in Part 1.  As well as an approach to maintain continuous employee engagement and regularly re-advertise the succession planning program.
  2.  Establish a process for employees to self-identify their interest in participating in succession planning, and which of the high risk key leadership position(s) they would like to begin developing themselves for. 
  3. Expose any gaps in the talent pool by developing a process to compare potential candidate’s current competencies, against the preparation they need to effectively assume the key leadership position(s) the candidate identified.

Tools to Assist with Steps

Detailed Information to Assist with Steps

Succession Planning Within The Merit System

As a civil service employer we are required to uphold the merit system. Succession planning should never involve any activity that goes against the merit system, such as hand-picking employees to participate in leadership development programs or guaranteeing appointments.

When implementing succession planning, inform all employees about succession planning activities and use the same objective measures to determine who will participate.  Participation in succession planning activities should not be the basis for appointment. The state’s merit system and sound hiring practices should always determine the best candidate for a given position.

It is recommended that assessment and selection processes be documented in order to maintain and uphold objectivity.

Step 1: Develop A Communication Plan

Develop a communication plan for each strategy that includes:

  • Clear objective(s)—Align to the desired outcome.
  • Overview of the message—Address the ‘What's In It For Me’ (WIIFM).
  • Communication method(s): face-to-face workshop, email, poster, flyer, video clip, etc.—Ensure communication method provides the opportunity for two-way communication.
  • Responsible party(ies)—The individual who develops the communication may not be the most appropriate person to deliver the communication.  Ensure employees are receiving the communication from a  valued source, such as their direct Manager/Supervisor.
  • Identification of all pertinent audiences.
  • Target date(s) and/or milestones when progress updates are to occur.

Step 2: Identify Talent Pool

All employees should have the opportunity to self-nominate and express their interest in participating in succession planning.  A talent pool can be identified and narrowed down in a variety of ways utilizing some or all of the following methods:

  • Employees can self-nominate.  Typically a self-identified candidate will be the most motivated candidate.
  • Identify the feeder classes.  After you have identified the priority areas, you can turn efforts towards classes that feed into a given level of leadership, and include all subsequent feeder classes to ensure a deep bench strength.

Assess employees’ readiness to assume the next level of responsibility.  This will provide some insight into their potential to be successful.

Step 3: Expose Talent Pool Gaps

Develop an objective process for identifying gaps in the talent pool.  This same process can be used to gauge an employees’ readiness to assume key leadership positions.  A readiness assessment is a common tool used for these purposes.  Readiness assessments  are an objective way for an employee and their supervisor to measure, across multiple factors, how ready an employee is to promote to the next level. These assessments help determine appropriate succession planning strategies targeting specific skills, such as involvement in a leadership development program, where an employee must demonstrate high potential to benefit from the program.

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