​​​With over 16,000 cooperative employees eligible for retirement over the next five years, cooperatives should not only think about filling open positions, they should also develop a long-term plan for developing and retaining critical skills required for the future.​

Succession management is a collaborative and ongoing process to ensure your employees are trained and available to meet the strategic objectives of your cooperative. It provides an opportunity to assess current talent, identify workforce risks, capture critical knowledge and subsequently create a talent development plan. When preparing for succession management, some common objectives to consider are to:

  • Ensure succession management is connected to your cooperative's business strategy and goals
  • Engage leadership throughout the process
  • Define the audience(s) who will receive communications ​regarding changes and the best channels to use for updates.

The toolkit is a framework that organizes individual documents into four stages. Depending on your cooperative's needs and readiness, you can determine which area to focus on. The documents can be used separately or can be combined into a series of steps that you can use as you build your talent management strategy to address your cooperative's succession management challenges. The toolkit includes a variety of documents, including PowerPoint discussion guides, assessment and tracking spreadsheets and Word templates, all of which can be rebranded and repurposed for your cooperative's succession management journey.

Research and Planning Critical Positions and People Organizational Capabilities Staff Development

  1. Research and Planning: Establish the foundation to start succession management planning (understanding key terms, process overview, management engagement).
  2. Critical Positions and People: Identify the critical roles that could negatively impact business operations without the right people in those positions​. Assess the skills and knowledge current employees.
  3. Organizational Capabilities: Determine competencies and skills that are essential to organization.
  4. Staff Development: Define various development strategies and approaches to close any skill gaps and prepare the right employees for critical organization roles.
For additional assistance with your succession management projects, contact Delaine Orendorff at or 571-289-9023. For assistance with this content, contact