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Strengthen Your Workforce with Strategies for Team Succession


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Succession planning and management is much more than an exercise to identify a new leader following the departure of the previous one.  It is an essential component of a broader talent management process to identify, develop and retain knowledgeable and skilled employees that align with current and future business objectives.

According to Eric Scharber, Principal of Exact Recruiting, the talent solution of Simione Healthcare Consultants, thoughtful planning and discussion about succession management helps home care and hospice professionals “realize their full potential in your organization. Investments in your current team for professional development represent the biggest advantage for retention and smooth staffing transitions.” In his work with agencies, health systems and senior care networks, Scharber has identified 5 steps for succession management to ensure the availability of experienced, capable employees to assume key roles as they become available.

1. Identify key functional areas and positions vital to operations and strategic objectives

“Everyone plays an important role within home care and hospice agencies, and many times that is painfully clear when we encounter a vacancy.  Succession planning within an organization helps to identify which positions, if left vacant, would make it very difficult to achieve current and future business goals,” Scharber says.  He recommends that agencies start with roles linked closely to the health and safety of patients, and positions that are critical to the financial health of the business. 

 2. Establish selection criteria for key functional areas and positions and plan employee development for these priorities

Setting expectations for key areas and positions requires that leaders be very specific about selection criteria and the activities that will be necessary share knowledge and develop new skills and competencies.  “Once strategies are clear and requirements are set for departments and roles, it’s easier to create training and development agendas that will help drive new business goals,” Scharber adds. “When strong internal candidates see a clear path for development, they will easily identify themselves by their actions.”

3. Determine interest and aptitude to fill key functional areas and positions

While the current team may know their jobs well, they may not have the skills and capacity to move into new roles.  “It’s the job of leadership to inform employees about key areas and positions, and the required capabilities, and to provide opportunities to grow,” Scharber says.  By sharing the plan for succession, he adds, leaders can set expectations to engage those individuals who possess the relevant knowledge and/or the motivation to advance their skills and increase their contributions to achieve business goals. 

4. Set a plan for training, development and sharing of expertise for leadership and other key positions

A solid plan for succession includes strategies for learning, training and development, as well as identification of the experts who can pass on their professional and organizational knowledge.  “Succession opportunities germinate from a constant sharing of knowledge. Every employee must have a development plan that links to the expected competencies that your organization requires. They also should understand how they can pass on their knowledge to others on the team,” Scharber says.

5. Assess the plan periodically to ensure all areas and positions are performing effectively and preparing for future team transitions

Periodic assessment of the succession plan is very important to ensure that strategies for learning and transfer of company knowledge are set in motion throughout the year.  “We recommend that home care and hospice agencies develop plans for both teams and roles to quickly fill key positions, to onboard new employees effectively, and to ensure that all areas of expertise are represented to continuously feed potential candidates in a forward direction.” Scharber says.

Exact Recruiting can help your organization facilitate a dynamic and effective plan for succession management. We also build teams with industry leading recruiting, executive search, interim management and other advisory services. For talent help in home care and hospice, visit https://www.simione.com/talent-solutions or call 727-372-5752.