Succession planning aims to reconcile demand and supply of the leadership, professional and technical expertise and capability that will be key to an organisation’s success in the future. It is a process by which one or more successors are identified for key roles, and career moves and/or development activities are planned for these successors. Successors may be fairly ready for the move (short-term successors) or seen as having longer-term potential (long-term successors). The focus is the skills or roles needed.
Talent management is the systematic identification, nurturing and developing of high-potential individuals who are seen to be of particular value to the organisation in the future. The focus is the individual.
Succession management is a wider set of resourcing and development processes within which succession planning sits. These include recruitment and selection, workforce planning, skills analysis, talent management and management development (including graduate and high-flyer programmes). The focus is the system.
To understand how these definitions coexist and interact, take a look at our visualisation.