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Training and Development Policy Wiki

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Leadership Talent Management & Succession Planning

Talent management and succession planning are essential to ensure effective human capital management in agency senior leadership.  These processes require an organization take a planned, deliberate and holistic approach to selection, development, and retention of its workforce. 

Talent management is a process that addresses competency gaps, particularly in mission critical positions and occupations, by implementing and maintaining programs to attract, acquire, develop, promote, and retain quality talent.  Succession planning is a proactive and systematic process where organizations  identify those positions considered to be at the core of the organization-- too critical to be left vacant or filled by any but the best qualified persons—and then create a strategic plan to fill them with experienced and capable employees.

While talent management focuses on individual executive needs to cultivate the potential of each executive, succession planning simultaneously ensures organizational needs are addressed and quality talent is ready to move into critical positions.  A strategic TM&SP process enhances organizational agility by leveraging an organization’s current information on the capabilities and talents of its workforce to meet the demands of the evolving political and business environment.  Additionally, an integrated talent management and succession planning sustains efficient operational requirements, improves knowledge management, and ensures an agency maximizes leadership talent at all organizational levels.


Title 5, Section 412.101 of the
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (5 U.S.C. 412.101) states: “In consultation with the Office of Personnel Management, the head of each agency shall establish - (1) a comprehensive management succession program to provide training to employees to develop managers for the agency.”

Step 1: Tools and Resources

A Guide to the Strategic Leadership Succession Management Model that helps agencies evaluate their existing talent pool, project future levels of leadership sufficiency, and examine the prospect of reorganization in line with mission-critical goals and priorities. Other resources on OPM's website include an outline of the Succession Planning process and Effective Succession Strategies.

Step 2: Tools and Resources


Step 3:  Tools and Resources

Step 4: Tools and Resources

Step 5: Tools and Resources

Helpful Tips

The way in which positions are filled can also play a vital role in change management and culture transition.  If an organization's culture is described as stagnant, safe, and lacking creativity, a strategic decision to consider may be to fill more leadership roles from outside the organization rather than from inside progression.  If an organization's leadership is perceived to be highly effective, motivational, thriving and customer focused, then the strategic decision may be to promote from within.  Both recruiting and development strategies would be developed to compliment the desired organizational culture. The list below depicts the breakdown of this structure:

  1. Accelerate development of candidates ready to move into leadership positions.
  2. Retain people in the leadership positions until candidates are considered ready to compete for those positions.
  3. Recruit individuals with technical and management experience to move immediately into the leadership positions.
  4. Reorganize functions and positions to meet the mission with the talent from the first three options.

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