Is Your Organization Working with Outdated Succession Management Strategies?

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

By Nicholas Ferreira, MBA Senior Product Manager, Talent Management, HealthStream

The difficult truth is while most healthcare companies are devoting resources to succession planning and leadership development, they are failing to yield benefits from their efforts.

More than half of hospitals surveyed say they are unprepared to replace leadership roles. Furthermore, less than 10 percent of healthcare leaders rate their succession programs as effective. Clearly, techniques from a decade ago are not going to work in the current environment.

The traditional approach to leadership development has several shortcomings - it’s not agile, the process is full of inertia, and the strategy of filling open boxes on an org chart with names does not reflect the current demands of healthcare leadership.

Healthcare leaders are challenged with a value-based payment environment, flatter organizational structure, and decentralized decision making. Furthermore, aspects like regulatory complexity, transparency toward board and market, and resource wars for talent—combined with the sheer pace of change—make a decades-old way of looking at succession planning ineffective.

Instead, what‘s needed is a fundamental shift away from viewing succession management as a pipeline or a task of filling seats and toward adopting a high level view. Leaders should not ask who in the pipeline is ready to promote, but instead should ask, “What challenges will this organization face in the coming years and who is best suited to meet those challenges?” This presents a complex task: solve challenges that might not yet exist with positions that might not yet exist on your org chart.

See which method your company relies upon. Here is a quick chart that compares an older approach with a more updated, effective one.

            Outdated                                VS                   Effective

Individual readiness for a position                   Organizational readiness for challenges

Lines of succession                                         Pools of relevant talent

Matching a person to a seat                            Matching people to challenges

Subjective data and opinion                            Objective data and science

Developing for position                                   Developing to address challenges

Learn more about HealthStream’s talent management solutions for healthcare.