Guest blog: Navigating succession planning – 7 steps for care businesses to succeed
Taking time to work on important but non-urgent tasks can be a challenge – especially when you run a care business. Succession planning however, is one of those critical tasks that when completed effectively, will ensure a seamless transition of leadership, maintaining stability and productivity. This will also result in a more engaged team, which in turn increases the likelihood of retaining people.
Whether you're a small business owner or part of a larger care business, having a well thought out succession plan is essential for long-term success. To enable you to start thinking about this process, I have broken it down into 7 easy-to-understand steps that will help you navigate through the art of succession planning.
Step 1: Identify key roles and positions
Begin by identifying the key roles and positions within your business. These are the positions that, if left vacant, could significantly impact the daily operations and overall success of the company.
This includes leadership roles, specialised positions, and any critical functions that contribute to the success of the business. Think care managers, supervisors, operations managers, financial controllers, etc.
Step 2: Assess current talent
Evaluate the skills, experience and potential of your current employees. Identify individuals who have demonstrated leadership qualities, possess the necessary skills for key positions, and show a commitment to the company's values. (As a side note: if you haven’t got values embedded within your business, this will be hard). This assessment will help you to create a pool of potential successors.
Also, remember that many people working in care have previously held different positions in other sectors. When you go through the recruitment process, it is important to list their previous skills and experience.
As an example, if someone has worked in hospitality, they may have good customer service skills, good communication skills, or may have attended specific training which could help your business. By capturing this within an employee file under 'previous skills and experience', you will have access to this information when you are looking at filling positions.
Step 3: Develop a leadership pipeline
Once you've identified potential successors, work on developing a leadership pipeline. This involves creating a structured plan for the growth and development of these individuals.
Provide training, mentorship and opportunities for them to gain the skills and experience needed for higher-level roles.
Step 4: Encourage professional development
Invest in professional development opportunities for your employees. This can include workshops, courses, certifications, and attendance at relevant conferences.
By fostering continuous learning, you ensure that your employees stay up-to-date with industry trends and are prepared for evolving roles.
Step 5: Communicate openly with employees
Maintain transparent communication with your employees about the succession planning process. Let them know the importance of having a plan in place, and explain how it benefits both the business and individual career growth.
Encourage open communication, address concerns, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Step 6: Create a succession planning committee
Form a succession planning committee comprising key stakeholders within the business. This committee will be responsible for overseeing the succession planning process, evaluating potential successors, and ensuring the plan aligns with the company's goals.
By having a committee, it means you are listening to different perspectives. What one person may see as a strength, another may see as a challenge. This committee will ensure you have a balanced view.
Step 7: Monitor, measure and adjust
Succession planning is an ongoing process which requires regular monitoring and adjustment. Keep track of changes in the business, industry trends, and the development of your employees.
Periodically review and update your succession plan to ensure it remains relevant and effective. Social care is changing rapidly, so you need to be able to adapt to environmental changes.
In summary, succession planning is a proactive approach to preparing for the future and ensuring the sustainability of your business. By following these simple steps, you can create a robust succession plan that identifies and develops the next generation of leaders within your company.
Remember that a well-prepared and capable leadership team is the key to long-term success and business resilience. At the Institute of Health & Social Care Management, we are focused on supporting businesses with the above.