The Future of Healthcare Succession Planning

If the world changes fast, the healthcare industry changes even faster. Hospitals and healthcare organizations are constantly adapting to changing legislation, tweaking delivery models, and looking at strategies to provide the best care for patients while keeping costs down and monitoring patient satisfaction. If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, we’re currently experiencing a considerable demographic shift that negatively affects healthcare turnover.  Hospitals and health systems that are looking to address this must look into healthcare succession planning for C-suite, leadership, and governing positions. Healthcare Succession Planning is key if your healthcare organization is going to survive during this era of uncertainty and constant shifts.

Today’s Approach to Healthcare Succession Planning

Executive Search Firms Healthcare Succession Planning
A new approach to Healthcare Succession Planning

Succession plans are created to plan out strategy and curtail risk from future talent needs. Traditionally, succession planning has involved the board planning out the current leaders who would be best suited to step into a c-suite role when there is an unexpected vacancy. This type of strategy is good. It allows the team to be prepared, organized, and to minimize unexpected lags in leadership.

If your healthcare organization is planning to take this path, then it is imperative that there is a talent development plan that will prepare those in line to become strong executives in their new roles. This plan must include not only skill training and certifications but also full immersion in the organization’s mission.

This type of healthcare succession planning requires audits of the organization’s current talent pool, and a review of their personal and professional history, experience, achievements, and aptitudes.

It is also important that each person in line for succession is evaluated for readiness. How is the candidate performing in his/her current role? Are they currently on a growth path? How has the candidate responded to change in the past?

Creating succession charts is quite helpful in visualizing the succession map from top to bottom. The chart should include the leaders who are most suitable to step up for top-level positions, as well as those who are “understudies” of sorts who can be a great second choice. The more detailed and deep the succession chart is, the better prepared your team will be if and when an unexpected vacancy happens.

Other Ways to Approach Healthcare Succession Planning

The above steps in a healthcare succession plan are great, but they don’t necessarily fit all sorts of organizations and situations. However, with the constantly changing healthcare environment, this approach can be too bulky, time-consuming, and resource draining to be put into place. Why? Your healthcare organization may not be looking to continue with the status quo. Let’s take a deeper look at why this traditional approach may not be the best when drafting a team that will be successful and has longevity.

In a replacement healthcare succession planning model, one often looks at the competencies and capabilities of the leaders being considered. A better model is to include the measurable outcomes of initiatives they have put into place, their accomplishments.

This approach also looks at present needs and not future needs. In replacement succession planning, there can be a lack of vision towards skills of the future and forecasting the skills needed for challenges that are yet to come.

Replacement succession planning can result in missed opportunities by creating a vertical talent pool that excludes people from other departments within the organization and even outside talent. When speaking of outside talent, this means not only going beyond internal talent to other healthcare organizations but sometimes reaching to talent outside of healthcare.  Hiring talent from other industries can result in fresh perspectives and outcomes. One example to look at is the hospitality industry. Talent with this type of experience excels in hospitality, defusing stressful situations quickly in a rapidly moving environment. Because their focus has been on guest enjoyment for decades, their experience translates well into patient satisfaction, which is beginning to become a major focus for hospitals and healthcare systems. By looking outward for talent, you increase the probability of finding a person who is more than just sufficient, someone who can create positive effects by stepping into that C-suite or executive position.

Healthcare Succession Executive Search Firms

If you are looking to avoid the pitfalls of internal healthcare succession planning, working with a search firm can be the perfect solution. The best healthcare executive search firms don’t just have access to a much larger pool of talent, they will also have fewer restrictions when approaching this talent. Additionally, the top healthcare executive search firms will save your organization valued time, money, and will ensure that your hire is the right investment. The best search firms, particularly boutique executive search firms. will perform much of the work that would tie up your team and resources; let us take a look at some of these items:

Replacement succession planning requires labor-intensive and time-consuming reviews of talent. These reviews are conducted to ascertain that the goals of the organization will be achieved by the talent in line.

The healthcare search team you work with should also conduct an in-depth look at your healthcare organization to gauge current competencies, emerging expertise, and development opportunities. Oftentimes, an outside look into the organization will find unknown strengths and weaknesses that can be enhanced or mitigated by the right talent.

The best healthcare executive search firms thrive on relationships. As such, it is in their best interest to place the most talented person in the organization. The firm’s search consultants will be tasked with making sure that the talent presented for healthcare succession planning is not only skilled but is also developing at the right speed.

Because search firms specialize in just that, they have tools available that make the search process more effective.  Data measuring tools allow for faster vetting and ranking of potential leaders.

Why Choose Summit Talent Group as a Succession Planning Partner

At Summit Talent Group, we consider ourselves to be a boutique healthcare executive search firm. That means that we work on building relationships with our clients so that we become partners instead of merely a service provider.

Because our focus is on long-term working relationships, we begin by only taking on a small number of projects at a time. This means that search tasks will not be delegated to less experienced team members. When working on a succession planning strategy, our principals are with you from start to finish.

This means we begin the process by getting to know you, your team, your organization, and its mission. Once we have a full understanding of this, we begin to work on a timeline for the process so you and your team have a projection of when milestones are to be hit. Only then, do we begin to work on your succession plan.

Our extensive experience in interim placements also makes it so that we can supplement your project if there is an urgent vacancy. By placing interim talent in these types of positions, we relieve financial, reputational, and organizational risks.

If you are looking to work on succession planning and want to learn more about our approach, our team, and our experience, contact us. We look forward to working with you and to building an enduring partnership. 

As Operations Manager for Summit Talent Group, Kyle is the primary resource for preparing client and candidate interview materials and supports the recruiting team with scheduling, organizing travel, and project management. She manages the office administrative function, including client contracts, proposals, invoicing and billing. Kyle also maintains the public website, manages all of the company’s technology and database tools, and researches innovative applications to ensure efficient recruitment operations. She is a graduate of Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, with an Associate Degree in Business Administration.