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Navigating the "Great Resignation" with Succession Planning


By: Barry R. Cesafsky FACHE
Senior Partner 

In these uncertain times of the waning "Great Resignation," preparing for the future has become more critical than ever. Just as we plan for our personal lives by managing finances, writing wills, and prioritizing health check-ups, organizations must also take proactive measures to secure their future. In the context of healthcare organizations, this means embracing succession planning - a carefully orchestrated process of orderly transferring leadership within the organization, grooming and identifying potential executives to assume key leadership roles when needed.

The landscape of healthcare has shifted, and leaner organizations have emerged due to restructuring efforts that often include the elimination of middle management positions. Consequently, the availability of ready successors has become a pressing concern. Succession planning has taken on greater importance as organizations seek to address this challenge and ensure continuity in leadership. 

To implement a successful succession plan, several key elements must be incorporated: 

Openness and Transparency: The process should be transparent, involving all relevant stakeholders within the organization. 

Involvement of the Board and Current CEO: Both the Board and the incumbent CEO should actively participate in the succession planning process. 

Alignment with Organizational Culture and Core Values: The plan should consider the unique culture and core values of the organization to ensure a seamless fit between future leaders and the organization.

Integration with the Strategic Plan: Succession planning must align with the long-term strategic goals of the healthcare organization.

Identification of Key Leadership Skills and Competencies: Clearly identify the necessary leadership skills and competencies required for future leaders to excel.

Definition of Search Process: Establish a well-defined search process for identifying potential candidates, both internally and externally.

Targeting Ideal Candidates: Identify and groom potential candidates who embody the qualities and potential required for leadership positions.

Acknowledging Current CEO's Preferred Successor: Acknowledge any preferences the current CEO may have regarding his or her potential successor.

Motivating Future Candidates and Fostering Loyalty: Create an environment that motivates future candidates and fosters loyalty to the organization.

Instituting a Mentoring Program: Establish a mentoring program to support and develop potential candidates for leadership roles.

Implementing Progress Benchmarks: Develop measurable benchmarks to track and assess the progress of the succession plan.

Emergency Disaster Plan: Devise contingency plans to handle unexpected situations or emergencies.

Communicating Projected Changes: Develop a comprehensive plan to communicate with staff about potential leadership changes and transitions.

Amid the challenges posed by the "Great Resignation," a well-designed and long-term succession plan can ensure the ongoing success of any hospital or healthcare system. By proactively preparing for leadership changes, organizations can navigate uncertainties and achieve seamless transitions from one generation of leaders to the next.

At HealthSearch Partners, we understand the importance of succession planning in today's dynamic healthcare landscape. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team of principals excels at matching high-caliber leaders with organizations. If you need assistance in developing your Succession Plan or finding the best candidate to fill your next leadership position, please visit our website at or contact Barry Cesafsky at or (630) 479-6228.