Nothing is more unsettling to a home care organization than the loss, or impending loss, of an essential leader. Home care agencies that fail to plan for this event experience major disruptions in their business; initiatives lose momentum or are completely lost, uncertainty increases staff resignations, and business drops which causes a decline to the bottom line. To avoid this problem, a home health or hospice organization must have both an emergency succession plan, as well as an established succession plan.
What is a Succession Plan?
A sound home care succession plan is an ongoing process that contains the following:
1. Identification of critical positions needed for your home care agency.
2. Determination of the requisite skills needed for those positions.
3. Identification and assessment of potential successors or sources capable of providing individuals with the requisite skills.
4. Management and leadership involvement at all levels throughout your home care agency in developing the plan.
5. Ongoing commitment to developing internal talent and monitoring their progress.
A successful home care agency leadership succession plan identifies the environment, prepares for contingencies, and minimizes disruptions. Therefore, effective succession planning must be an ongoing process of regularly identifying, assessing, and developing talent to ensure leadership continuity for all key positions in a home care agency. The process must be in keeping with your home care or hospice agency’s ongoing strategic goals and objectives. This may mean the leadership style, skills, and behaviors to be developed and promoted might be different in the future from those in the existing culture. Therefore, the plan must be visited yearly and updated to match what your home health or hospice agency needs going forward.
“It must be understood that “succession planning is not a “replacement” strategy. A properly prepared succession plan is a proactive, systematic effort designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organization, division, department or work group.” (Christopher Simoneau, The Business Review)
With an up-to date succession plan, a situation creating one or more vacant leadership positions is less of an emergency for your home care agency. If, individuals within your home care agency are not capable of taking the helm and leading your organization, then an alternative will need to be implemented as soon as possible to prevent disruption. This replacement frequently is an interim home care manager with the requisite skills to fill the position.
With both an emergency and a succession plan in place, the selection of an appropriate interim home care manager is considerably easier. The requisite skill sets have been identified and updated and the essential work elements are in place. All staff is on board with their identified responsibilities during the interim home care manager’s time with your agency.
As with all things in our lives, planning makes a big difference. We never want to think of disasters occurring, but we all know that they do. People experience fires at their homes and business, hurricanes occur, earthquakes happen, and people become ill or die. How we plan to meet these times dictates the outcomes. As interim home care managers, we too often see the failure to plan.
Kenyon HomeCare Consulting can assist agencies with succession plans that help them through leadership transitions. We lay the groundwork when an interim manager is needed to fill the gap until a permanent leader can take the helm. If you need assistance with either developing succession plans or interim management, call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online. We are here to help.