How Succession Planning Boosts Employee Retention Rates

Lena J. Weiner, March 10, 2014

It may be counterintuitive, but proactively developing a system for identifying future healthcare leaders doesn't incent them to jump ship. Instead, this strategy keeps employees engaged and productive, one Pennsylvania health system finds.

Think your healthcare organization doesn't need succession planning? Consider this non-healthcare example and think again.

Jerry Junkins, the CEO of Texas Instruments, saw no need for a succession plan. "I'm as lean and healthy as a horse," he said in 1996 at the age of 58. A few months later, he had a heart attack while on a business trip to Germany and died. With no clear successor in place, Texas Instruments, once a technology juggernaut, scrambled for over a decade to recover from the leadership crisis.

In the tumultuous culture surrounding business and politics, leadership positions commonly have to be replaced at a moment's notice because of illness, death, or unexpected resignation, for which there seem to be an endless variety of explanations, including allegations of bribery, mysterious disappearances, and other "personal reasons."

These are not rare events and healthcare is not exempt.

But many healthcare leaders are reluctant to discuss succession planning—these are people for whom work is a very important part of life, and they frequently avoid planning for the inevitable. Often, it's HR who will have to bring it up, likely persistently. But that persistence will pay off if it helps avoid a leadership crisis.

Lena J. Weiner

Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.


Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Twitter icon