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Succession planning and management guide

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Who are the various players and what are their roles?

Effective succession planning requires commitment and effort from various players in the organization. Under the Management Accountability Framework, deputy heads and managers are expected to carry out integrated HR and business planning, as evidenced by “HR planning that incorporates future needs, effective recruitment and retention, succession planning, learning and diversity.” ( See endnote 10)

A summary of the roles of the various players is listed below. This document can be used as a starting point for discussions, and modifications can be made to better suit your organization. Discussions with each group can help determine how they see their role and how they view the role of other players.

Deputy heads

  • Communicate and champion the importance of effective succession planning and management.
  • Participate in the succession planning process and talent review meetings for senior executives.

All levels of management

  • Participate in the identification of key positions.
  • Identify knowledge, skills, and abilities for key positions.
  • Communicate to employees where the organization has identified critical or emerging gaps so that they can better tailor their learning plans.
  • Reserve time for career development discussions with employees.
  • Provide employees with opportunities for development.
  • Conduct performance reviews and assist employees in determining areas in need of further development.
  • Participate in talent review meetings and in the development of succession plans for key positions.
  • Complete documentation (forms, templates, etc.) on succession management.
  • Consult with stakeholders as appropriate. These include bargaining agent representatives and employees.
  • Link succession planning strategies to program and financial planning to minimize unexpected impacts such as expenditure reviews.
  • Communicate plans to promote a transparent approach.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of succession planning initiatives and amend the succession plan as required.


  • Learn about key positions and areas, and their skill requirements.
  • Discuss their career interests and plans with their manager.
  • Assess individual development needs with input from their manager.
  • Learn about, and take advantage of, developmental opportunities.
  • Complete a learning plan, keep it up to date, and ensure follow-through.
  • Be open to and act on feedback.

Human Resources

  • Develop HR tools for managers and employees.
  • Provide timely advice and guidance to managers, e.g. by assisting in the identification of vulnerable or key areas and positions.
  • Engage in and ensure ongoing discussions with bargaining agents.
  • Ensure ongoing discussions with corporate planners and ensure that linkages are made to program management.
  • Facilitate Performance Management Program exercises and talent review meetings as requested.
  • Consult with the functional communities that can provide a horizontal, government-wide perspective on the identification of current and future HR needs for their community.
  • Assist managers with the evaluation of succession planning initiatives.
  • Assist in the communication of key positions and areas to employees.

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