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Making the Case for Succession Planning in Healthcare


Thu Mar 31 2016

Making the Case for Succession Planning in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is confronted with a series of challenges that affect the management and development of its workforce. The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) conducted a study on the systematic failure of healthcare organizations. The finding indicated that not nearly enough attention is currently being paid to succession planning or talent management activities. Succession planning isn’t just for top executives; it is a documented talent development plan for all levels in the organization. Simply stated, succession planning is about developing future talent. Period.

Nowhere is the need for effective succession planning more pronounced than in the complex healthcare industry, where leaders face unprecedented pressure to transform their organizations so they can meet growing demands for high quality, cost-effective care and adhere to legal regulations. 


There are two forces driving more healthcare organizations to consider some form of succession planning as a component of their overall talent management strategies. Namely, these forces are 1) the aging of the workforce and 2) a shortfall in the skills possessed by those available for recruitment. What’s more, both factors are projected to become more pressing. 

In Ten Key Steps to Effective Succession Planning, William Rothwell explains that succession planning “is perhaps best understood as any effort designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organization, division, department, or work group by making provision for the development, replacement, and strategic application of key people over time.”

Typically part of a larger talent management program, succession planning is a comprehensive organizational key strategic process for every critical position in the organization. For the healthcare industry specifically, key talent shortages, high turnover among leaders, and attracting workers from other industries pose a great challenge. Consequently, healthcare organizations are more at risk—and need to put in place best practices related to succession planning and talent management. To delve more deeply into these issues, please join me and fellow panelists William Rothwell and Christina Barss for Session M303 “Developing a Succession Plan for Healthcare Organizations” at the ATD 2016 International Conference & Exposition.

We will discuss the changing landscape of healthcare, address the challenges of talent management programs, and moderate a discussion to build a case for a succession planning program. In addition, a facilitated activity will help attendees develop a strategy to analyze risk and build a commitment to develop a succession management plan.

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