This is a post in a series from Sarah White and Associates
While the economy is improving and the outlook is bright for the healthcare industry, no company is immune to unforeseen circumstances that can cripple it. While it is common practice for companies to take out life insurance policies for its key executives, many do not have a succession plan in the event of their sudden departure.
Proper succession planning is vital to a healthcare organization. Yet, it is as popular as planning for a funeral. It’s something that nobody really wants to tackle, yet it is one of the best ways to assure a smooth transition in the event the unexpected happens. Also, banks and investors may require a succession plan from those with fiduciary responsibilities within the organization before injecting capital into the company.
You may have some of the best executives in the healthcare industry, but they don’t have the power of eternity. A healthy company needs all of its executives to carry their weight. Losing one can rock the boat. Losing the CEO can sink it. With a proper succession plan, your company will be prepared rather than being caught off guard. This will make it better able to care for its customers, employees and vendors during a crisis or sudden retirement of an important executive.
The best way to handle succession planning is to start from the inside and work your way out. Look at each of your top level executives and determine several other key individuals that can step in to lead the organization at a moment’s notice, even if it is temporary, while you search for a permanent replacement. Their closest direct reports will most likely be suitable candidates.
Can your healthcare organization weather a storm? To ensure that you can, having access to a steady pool of talent that have the skills and experience your company needs is fundamental to proper succession planning. That being said, it is equally important to nurture your employees and groom them for leadership roles by creating an environment that motivates and retains them.
Keep in mind that succession planning is a roadmap. Your efforts will be fruitless if you lock it away in a vault for years gathering dust. Your succession plan should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. Otherwise, you may be faced with a dilemma when you realize that individuals you have mapped for succession are no longer with the company.