Succession Planning in a New Age


While Succession Planning is not nearly a new concept, its need may never be more apparent in the face of a global pandemic. In the age of Covid-19, the pressure is on many companies to draw up plans for business continuity to ensure the long-term sustainability of their business. I think it’s also safe to say that Covid-19 is also proving that succession planning programs must not be static, they must be adaptable to changing times and the ways in which we run our business.

A robust succession planning process will involve identifying the competencies the business requires to remain competitive, developing a deep talent bench, creating a comprehensive plan for leadership transitions, and engaging talent with targeted development activities. Having a succession planning program in place will provide the organization with insight into how much potential employees have for future roles, how strong or weak the current bench is, and what competencies drive performance in critical roles.

In today’s blog, we will take a deeper dive into the importance of succession planning in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Succession Planning in a New Age

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has likely been serious disruptions to succession plans that may have been in process. These are unprecedented times, and it may be difficult to say, and fairly speculative, what the broad impact of Covid-19 has had on succession plans across businesses in Canada. However, I believe that the current pandemic has provided a leadership test for many who have been identified as future successors.

The pandemic has, in many ways, showcased the leadership potential in some talent, but also highlighted development opportunities for others. During the transition to a remote workforce, some leaders have been able to demonstrate a keen ability to adapt during difficult times, and other leaders have struggled significantly. The crisis that we’re currently navigating has really called attention to the need to develop various leadership skills, such as change management, communication, flexibility, adaptability, critical thinking, and team building. While these are common leadership competencies, continued emphasis will have to be placed on developing these competencies to compete in a remote work environment. 

Covid-19 has very much forced companies to re-evaluate their existing succession plans and revisit the leadership competencies that they will require in a relatively new world of remote and digital work. I also think Covid-19 has really accentuated the need for organizations to have communication mechanisms in place for leaders to allow for the communication of critical information.

We’ve been in a digital world for some time now, but many companies have taken a long time to adapt. The pandemic has thrown a curveball and expedited this transition. Companies are now forced into a position to transform their business, so they can carry on operations in a remote and technological landscape.

What’s the impact on how businesses plan for future crises?

There will also certainly be long-term effects COVID-19 has on how businesses plan for emergencies and crises. The pandemic has certainly put pressure on companies to strengthen or create business continuity and succession plans. I can speak for several of our firm’s clients that a strong emphasis and priority has been placed on succession planning since March of this year. I would say that generally speaking, companies are probably in better shape in terms of business continuity and succession than they were pre-Covid, simply because Covid-19 has forced companies to adapt and draw up plans that accounts for emergencies and crises.

At the very least, I’ve seen companies through the pandemic develop plans for emergency replacements in the event that people in key leadership positions are not able to fulfill their duties. By no means is this alone a viable long-term solution (as it is merely putting a band aid on the situation), but it’s a start. Going forward, I think the current situation will prompt companies to think longer-term, to install more formalized and proactive planning mechanisms to ensure the business is in a place where it can be nimble and respond effectively in the face of a crisis.

In the past, I’ve seen all too often when leaders or subject matter experts leave a company and take with them their institutional knowledge. The issue has been, in those situations, that there was no mechanism in place for continuity. Over my career, I’ve always made it a priority to support with proactive succession planning, to create a mechanism to pass on institutional knowledge, and help create a deep talent bench where the company is prepared for proper leadership transitions.

In summary, companies are starting to realize how important succession planning and business continuity is, as it really can provide a source of competitive advantage. Realistically, I feel the companies that have the most robust succession and business continuity plans are those companies who can make it through exactly the type of crisis were living through right now. It is certainly the time to act to ensure business sustainability.

About the Author

Greg Hussey is a Human Resources professional with over ten years of progressive and diverse experience. Greg has a passion for helping organizations develop their people, working closely in building a culture of high-performance and accountability through the successful deployment of succession programs and business continuity plans.

Greg is the President of Impact HR, your dedicated outsourcing solution for human resources. They are your “fractional” HR department, and help ensure you have a strong HR foundation that will support your business goals. Impact HR helps drive sustainable business success by leveraging and engaging the people of an organization, maximizing their contributions.

Keep an eye out for our future blogs, where we will continue to address relevant and current trends in the field of human resources.


Training & Development


Over the years, we’ve developed many training modules that have helped the people of an organization succeed. We tailor our offerings to your exact needs and can focus on building the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that your organization requires. 


Our instructors engage your learners to ensure they get the most out of training. We offer a diverse mix of in-depth training, lunch ‘n learns, and seminars. Listed below is our course offerings.

You can also access our course catalogue by clicking here.












You can access our course catalogue by clicking here. The course catalogue outlines the course duration, fee per learner, minimum class sizes, course description, and learning outcomes for each course.

 We also work with a network of certified coaches and experts who can support with MBTI and DiSC Assessments.


You may be eligible to receive funding for our courses under the Canada-Alberta Job Grant Program, which may cover two-thirds of the cost to a maximum of $10,000 per employee per year.

See the link below to learn more about the Canada-Alberta Job Grant Program or contact us for more information.

Organizational Design

We analyze your business and advise you on the organizational design and structure that will allow you to meet your strategic business goals. Our goal is to ensure you have an efficient operation and that the right people are deployed in the right positions.


Proactive planning and forecasting can help you become more productive and efficient. We help you plan for the future by implementing robust forecasting techniques that properly anticipate required headcount and potential organizational changes. 

organizational design

Our aim is to deliver solutions that will protect your business from risk, improve employee relations and engagement, and maximize the contributions of your workforce.

We offer clients diverse services aimed at supporting them in building a foundation for their human resources function. Our home is Edmonton, AB, but we support businesses throughout Alberta and across Canada. Please see our service offerings below.

Strategic Human Resources Management

We offer a number of services that can support your business in achieving its strategic goals. Please click on the image beside to find out more information on our strategic planning, HRIS implementation, business efficiency improvements, or organizational planning/design services.

Strategic Planning

A business can become stagnant and fail to maximize the potential of its people if its HR and corporate strategy is not aligned.

Business Efficiency​

Process efficiency improvements can be a game changer, especially for a company in an industry where margins are tight. Adopting lean methodologies and a continuous improvement mindset can help your company with cost reductions and minimizing waste.

Human Resource Info Systems (HRIS)​

What drives change in a business? It can come from just about anywhere. Effectively dealing with change puts a company in a better position to compete long-term.

Organizational Design

Alignment of all your HR practices is critical in allowing your company to achieve its strategic goals. If a company does not properly deploy its resources, it may not be able to capitalize on opportunities that would allow it to grow and prosper.

Policies, Handbooks, and Employee Relations

Navigating employee relations issues can be time consuming and complex. The employee-employer relationship is very dynamic and is impacted by several pieces of legislation, such as human rights law, employment standards, and Occupational Health & Safety. Employers must take precautions to ensure they do not expose the organization to risk that could result in hefty lawsuits and long-term damage to their reputation. We offer many solutions to help you manage your relationship with employees and minimize legal exposure from changing legislation.

Please click on the images below to find out more information on our policy and employee handbook, employee terminations, and outplacement services.

Policy and Employee Handbooks

We can support your business with policies and procedures that will protect your business from legislative and reputation risk

Employee Terminations

We can help alleviate the stress and ensure employee terminations are done smoothly and respectfully

Outplacement Services

When your organization is going through a transition process and is faced with layoffs or organizational restructuring, we provide outplacement services so management are prepared to deal with the aftermath of layoffs and employees don’t miss a beat in the workforce.

Performance Management

Performance Management is a complex area in human resources and can be administered in a variety of ways.

Compensation and Benefits

Offering competitive compensation and benefits programs can help you attract top tier candidates and avoid loss of top performers to the competition.

Human Resources Consulting Projects

We can support you business with a variety of HR projects that will help you build your human resources foundation. We have experience in planning and executing projects in the areas of performance management, employee engagement, compensation & benefits, succession planning, performance management, and health & safety

Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety is a dynamic and complex field. It’s important to ensure you are compliant with OHS laws and demonstrate your commitment to protect your employees and other stakeholders of the company.

Employee Engagement

Finding new ways to engage your employees can substantially increase productivity. Employees who are engaged have a greater desire to remain with the organization, advocate for the organization, and exert extra effort above & beyond the call of duty.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning allows you to proactively identify the skills you need to be competitive long-term, develop the bench strength of your organization, and plan for changes in leadership.

Strategic Planning

We help you gain a clear understanding of the strategic goals of your company and the strategy in place to achieve those goals. We will also help ensure your HR priorities are aligned with the long-term direction of your company.

Not only are we equipped to develop strategic HR initiatives, but we can also help you formulate your mission, vision, and values. We work with you to analyze your internal and external environments and translate that data first into strategic goals and then into people solutions that make sense for your unique business.

We use a thorough planning model to help ensure you consider all your options and craft a business plan that will optimize your business results and maximize the contributions of your people.

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Our change management process allows you to be proactive, engage the right stakeholders, and enable the people of your organization to lead the change effort.

People instinctively don’t like change and can sometimes throw a wrench into your change effort. We have led many change initiatives over the years, many of which have resulted in improved business performance and increased engagement across the organization.

How can a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) help your business?

It can automate many processes within your HR function and relieve the burden of paper filing and manual data management for your HR team and management. Vacation, benefits, hiring, onboarding, and performance management are some areas of your HR function that can be streamlined and save your company in administrative and non-valued-added time.

Business Process Improvement

At Impact HR, we have several years of manufacturing experience to draw on to help you lead your lean initiatives. We’ve studied world leading lean manufacturing systems and we use a proven approach in helping you become more efficient.

We’ve led many lean initiatives over the years that have allowed various companies to thrive in cost competitive industries. We’ve also applied the same thinking to the field of human resources. Through process mapping and HR program design, we maximize the efficiency of the HR department and allow you to earn a higher return on your people practices.

business efficiency

Performance Management


Performance Management is a complex area in human resources and can be administered in a variety of ways. We have worked with several organizations in creating and administering complex performance management mechanisms, conducting 360-degree evaluations, and providing training and coaching for supervisors and management.

While performance management can be administered in many shapes and sizes, our focus is building a culture of accountability. This involves supporting you in establishing goals for your direct reports, gaining acceptance of those goals, objectively measuring performance, and providing timely and ongoing feedback.

Recruitment Services


We offer full cycle recruitment services to help you attract and retain talent that is the best “fit” for your business. Our services include:



As we are your outsourced HR department, we provide hiring services as if we were your internal recruiter, meaning we bill on an hourly basis. This means you are not paying an excessive fee for staff. 

Employee Engagement


We offer a few methods to help diagnose your engagement issues. Hiring a 3rd party can be advantageous as employees may feel safer providing feedback due to the independent relationship. We can support in the following ways:

We have many years of experience in organizing various initiatives to solicit employee feedback. From survey design to facilitating focus groups, we know how to dig deep into engagement issues and develop effective solutions to increase engagement.

Compensation & Benefits


We will help you design pay bands that are based on valid market research, fit your competitive position in the market, and ensure pay equity. 

We also have considerable experience in designing incentive plans. We can design a new plan aimed at driving behaviours that will elevate the performance of your organization. 


Our process for designing your benefits plan focuses on getting the most value out of the plan for your employees while managing the cost structure to a level that is sustainable for your business. We’ll work with you to determine the right mix of benefits offerings and coverage levels. We can also be an important liaison with your benefits consultants and carrier, ensuring your best interests are kept front and center.


Succession Planning


Through many years of experience in leading succession planning programs, we offer a simple step-by-step process that will elevate the overall talent level of your company. We’ll help you figure out who your future leaders are and recommend development plans that will put them over the top.

Our process for identifying and assessing talent, and building development plans is straightforward and involves the following:

succession planning

Health & Safety

Are you struggling to keep up with changing OHS laws or not sure where to start? We offer a comprehensive set of services to help you navigate your requirements under OHS and implement solutions that will protect your employees and company stakeholders.


Policy and Employee Handbook

We can support your business with policies and procedures that will protect your business from legislative and reputation risk. Our consultants have many years of experience in developing policies, communicating to employees, and providing policy training.

Having workplace policies in place can benefit you in many ways. They outline rules and standard behaviours expected from employees, set guidelines for dealing with routine situations, promote fairness and consistency, and provide a mechanism for communicating to employees.

Listed below is a sample list of the policies we can support your business with:

performance management

Employee Terminations

Terminating an employee, whether for cause, without cause, or during a workforce reduction can be extremely difficult. Terminations can present a large degree of risk to a business if not handled properly, whether it is legal and financial risk or physical risk during a termination meeting. We can help alleviate the stress and ensure employee terminations are done smoothly and respectfully. Our services for terminations are listed below:

employmee terminations

Outplacement Services


Outplacement Services are intended to support both management and employees through the transition process of layoffs, restructuring, or terminations. For employees, they are intended to not only help navigate the job market but also transition to a new position and organization.


Workplace Investigations

Workplace investigations can be extremely difficult and complex, and if not handled properly, lead to extremely negative consequences for an organization. Our firm takes the pressure off by following a methodical process in conducting workplace investigations, and will ensure it is backed up with credible documentation and recommendations.


We offer investigation services primarily in the following areas:

Not only have we investigated complaints against front line employees, but we have investigated incidents where senior managers and executives have been named as Respondents.


Our investigation process is very methodical, following a very specific investigation framework. This is to ensure the investigation is viewed as objective and credible. Once we have an understanding of the complaint, we will conduct interviews with relevant parties. After all interviews are complete, we summarize the data and provide analysis, findings, and recommendations in a formal independent investigation report. As a last step, we will schedule a debrief meeting to review the report, findings, and recommendations.


Investigations are different based on complexity and how many parties are involved. Each investigation requires time to review the complaint, prepare for meetings, conduct the interviews, prepare a report, and conduct a debrief meeting. Our investigation work is fee based at an hourly rate of $130 per hour.

impactHR is your dedicated outsourcing solution for human resources. Think of us as your fractional HR department. Whether you need us on an ongoing basis, for a one-time consulting project, or just need an occasional resource to ask questions when you’re dealing with an employee issue, we help ensure you have a strong HR foundation that will support your business. We work with any type and size of business, from startups, to small and medium enterprise, to multinational corporations.