A succession plan to fill key positions over time is essential for success & survival of an organisation. Its purpose is to identify & develop people to replace current incumbents in key positions in case of resignation, retirement, promotion, growth etc. succession can be within or from outside the organisation. Succession by people from within provides opportunities to employees for advancement in their careers. Complete dependence on internal sources may however cause conflicts & stagnation in the organisation. Similarly, complete dependence on outside talent may cause stagnation in career of present employees which may in turn lead to a sense of frustration and job dissatisfaction.
Career planning & succession planning appear to be similar but not synonymous. Career planning covers all levels of employees where as succession planning is generally required for higher level executives. Generally, career planning is based on a succession plan for higher level executives. A succession plan involves identification of vacancies that are likely to occur in higher levels and locating probable successors. Succession planning facilitates continuity of organisation. Career planning may consists of charts showing career paths of different categories of employees showing how they can advance up in the organisation. But a succession plan consists of a runner up chart or succession chart for a particular position such as General Manager.