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What is Succession Planning in Healthcare?

Succession planning is an issue many industries have failed to keep up with, and the healthcare industry has been no different. However, with burnouts hitting skyrocketing rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, succession planning in healthcare is becoming increasingly important. Read on to learn more about succession planning and how you can incorporate succession planning in healthcare to your dental, optometry, veterinary, or physical therapy practice.

What Succession Planning Is and Why It Is More Important Than Ever

Succession planning involves lining up and training individuals already part of your team to step up into a key role, should that role be abdicated quickly or unexpectedly. In the world of healthcare, employee burnout rates are higher than ever due to the stress and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means your medical practice can theoretically be left without a key team player in the blink of an eye. If your other team members aren't ready to fill those shoes, you may run the risk of inadequate patient care while searching for and training a new person.

Why Succession Planning Should Apply to All Positions

It's true that key positions, particularly in management, should have succession planning in action. However, all positions should be considered for succession planning in healthcare. Each part of your practice is an integral part of the process for your patients. Your employees should always be ready to take on some more executive tasks if needed, and cover for one another should someone suddenly become unavailable to work.

Succession training in healthcare is important to the quality of patient care. To ensure the patients of your dental, optometry, veterinary, or physical therapy practice will always receive the highest quality care, you and your team must be ready for anything and everything, including the sudden temporary or permanent loss of a team member.

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succession planning in healthcare software

How to Create a Talent Pipeline

To ensure your practice is ready when the time comes, you should start implementing a succession planning program immediately. Start by ensuring all members of individual teams are trained in the same areas. You should avoid relying on one or two key people to complete important tasks. You can start by encouraging different team members to take on new roles for a day or two each month and continue to have them try on those roles every so often. This will help you build a pipeline of talent within your own team that you can turn to when the unexpected happens.

It is also worth noting that training should always be tracked. This will ensure that you know who has had what training. HR for Health does have these functionalities that you can use.

Succession planning in healthcare not only pushes your team members to challenge themselves to learn and grow, it also encourages them to remain devoted team players in your practice. The ability to move forward, take on more responsibility, and possibly earn more money in the foreseeable future is encouraging. 

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Identifying Cross-Training Opportunities

If your employees each have different areas of expertise, break up your teams and switch some members around. Identify the most capable members of each team and ensure they spend a certain amount of time each month learning about different job elements that are crucial to your daily operations. This allows your team members to be much more efficient at work and prepares them for the next steps in their careers. This can also be a motivating factor for your employees. It might also help to maintain an easily accessible list of your employees, along with the various skills and job duties they can perform, so that you can maximize your team’s productivity.  Employee retention improves dramatically when individuals realize they have room to grow and there is a possibility to move ahead in their careers.

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Practices should also consider any potential limiting factors in terms of training. Some positions obviously have license requirements, which means that they will not be able to take part in some training options. You should always check the license requirements of any team member before offering training opportunities to them. 

Every year during annual performance reviews, take the time to find out what other interests your employees have. What are their personal career goals? How can you help them achieve these goals? What organizational goals can the employee contribute toward? Together, you can work on a succession planning strategy that is as beneficial to you and your practice as it is to your employee’s future.

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Always Be Prepared

Succession planning in healthcare is an important part of ensuring that quality care is never compromised if a manager falls ill or quits. The care of your patients at your dental, optometry, veterinary, or physical therapy practice should remain top of mind at all times. Putting a plan in place to train employees in different areas and encourage them to take on new tasks can help you weather the storm if a key player does have to step down. 

In some cases, you may also want to promote a valuable employee, but can't do so until you have a replacement for their current role. Succession planning allows your employees to move quicker and maintains a smoother transition for your entire team.

How HR for Health Can Help

HR for Health can help you and your practice with succession planning in healthcare. HR for Health offers documentation storage that is super simple to use. This will allow you to easily store any documents you have regarding succession planning in one place. We can also offer templates for employee performance reviews and sample interview questions for both new hires and internal promotions. You can also count on our timekeeping software to easily adjust weekly pay if different tasks afford the team member a higher pay than usual. 

If your employees are required to complete continuing education units to move forward, you can also keep track of that information through HR for Health's software system. Everything you need to make succession planning at your practice simple can be found at HR for Health. Contact HR for Health today to learn more about the software options we offer and how our streamlined services can help you manage succession planning in healthcare for your practice today.

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