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Succession Plans – Beneficial Across All Categories

How to Leverage Succession Planning for Recruitment and Retention
Katarzyna Bia’asiewicz/123RF.com

Most private practice physicians plan their retirement well in advance. They bring in new associates, transitioning patients long before their planned departure.  Therapists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants often do the same.  A succession plan guarantees a smooth conversion for patients and the office’s practice. But succession planning isn’t just for private practitioners. Succession plans in large healthcare facilities not only create provisions for the future, they can also be used to attract and retain talent.

Preparing for the brain drain

It’s estimated that though 2029, 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire from the workforce every day. With that level of departure, institutions are working overtime to simply maintain staffing levels, much less plan for growth. Too often, facilities don’t examine the data they hold; they aren’t determining how many staff members, professional, administrative and support, will soon age out. While mandatory retirement is a thing of the past, most institutions can expect the bulk of their staff members will voluntarily retire when they start to hit their golden years. Planning for that exodus is not only smart – it may be mission-critical to ensure patient outcomes are not impacted.

Succession planning across all categories

While you may be working diligently to plan for the departure of some categories, it might be wise to ask why others are being ignored. Nursing professionals are some of the most challenging roles to fill and keep filled. Turnover in the industry is high. We recently reported more than one-quarter of nurses are actively looking for new jobs. While some turnover cannot be avoided, succession planning can give nursing staff a reason to stay. Developing a career path that anticipates growth within the facility can be a strong motivator to keep his or her career trajectory with your institution instead of someone else’s.

The turnover rate for service providers, janitorial, food service, and other essential workers can be high as well. Working with these key staff members by outlining where they can grow within the organization could be a strong deterrent to moving on. A good look at your highest turnover areas, wherever they may be found in the facility, may be an excellent starting point to begin considering where succession planning can make a difference.

Succession planning as an engagement tool

New to the HR vernacular are “career sleepwalkers:” employees who, some after almost a decade in the workforce, still don’t see their career trajectory. These workers are at risk for leaving, particularly if they’re on the younger side of the spectrum. They’re looking for a facility that not only values the talent they bring today but also helps plan a path for their future. Providing employees with an opportunity to map their career within the organization can promote high levels of engagement. With plans to move up within the department or facility, employees are working hard to perform today, as well as demonstrate what they will be doing in the future.

Succession planning as an attraction tool

Millennials are said to switch jobs more frequently than other generations. To attract and retain them, employee development is key. These staffers are actively looking for employers planning for their future. When hiring this demographic, as well as others, career mapping is important. The old “where do you see yourself in 5 years” recruitment question is now an opening to discuss what your facility has to offer in terms of growth. That conversation can be a strong attraction for potential hires.

Cross training boosts engagement

Some employees may be capped out. There’s really nowhere for them to go within the department unless someone leaves. They may not be interested in more training or education to move up, but they may still be at risk if they stay in place for too long.

Consider cross training. Where can those staff members’ skill set be utilized in another area? Would they be interested in stretching their professional wings and working in another discipline? The prospect of maintaining employees who are either capped out (or even those who are burned out) with a new avenue to explore may keep their interest piqued and their employment maintained.

Training and educational opportunities that promote growth and learning are strong motivators. Most facilities provide opportunity to grow. Top facilities proactively encourage and plan for growth to keep employees engaged and dedicated.

In today’s competitive market, talent management must include succession planning and cross training to keep employees engaged. These top tools should be part of your overall talent plan, from recruitment to retirement.

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About Riia O'Donnell

Riia O’Donnell has over 20 year’s hands-on experience in all aspects of the Human Resource function. Beginning as a recruiter, she grew to lead in all areas of HR, including employee training and development, legal compliance, benefits administration, compensation evaluation, and staff management. She has been a contributing writer for a wealth of HR, training, and small business websites for the past 7 years. Connect with Riia on Twitter at @RiiaOD.