Succession planning a 'responsibility' for healthcare leaders

With shorter tenures and less loyalty to companies, it's essential that healthcare leaders have a succession plan in place, according to Sarah Richardson, CIO at Naples, Florida-based NCH Healthcare System.

"Your successor should be more prepared, better situated and have been exposed to the learnings and pitfalls you traversed because you taught them the ropes," Richardson writes in a recent blog post. "Leadership and succession planning are not a secret, they are a responsibility."

Everyone wants to make a difference and find relevance in their work, Richardson says, and making sure that happens for your staff is your most important role.

She advises:

  • Have a succession plan and leadership pipeline: It's important to be deliberate about nurturing internal talent, and rewarding team members who exemplify your mission, vision and values fosters both loyalty and engagement, Richardson says.
  • Invest in executive development and training programs: Ensure people know there is a pathway to advancement within your organization.
  • Strategically move people into new roles to expand learning: Allowing people to change roles via a lateral move to a new department or through a job-swap with a colleague can expand learning beyond the scope of a formal program, Richardson says.

Many industries can easily lure away healthcare tech talent when looking for people with IT leadership who are experienced in projects such as implementing and managing large-scale IT and data management projects.

Those jobs in other industries often pay more and offer a more strategic role in the organization. That makes it imperative for healthcare organization to provide CIOs with more responsibility and input into organization-wide decisions.

Healthcare IT salaries, however, should be improving, according to a survey by staffing firm TEKsystems. Seventy-three percent of healthcare IT leaders it polled expect overall IT salaries to increase in 2015.

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