In August, Hospitals & Health Networks hosted the webinar “Talent Management and Succession Planning Best Practices: Assessing Impact on Financial, Workforce, and Value-Based Purchasing Metrics.” Kevin Groves, associate professor at Pepperdine University and president of Groves Consulting Group, gave the presentation.

Groves pointed out that research suggests that in five years, some 75 percent of leadership talent will be ready to retire, and that a recent American College of Healthcare Executives report tracked health care CEO turnover at an all-time high 20 percent in 2013. Will you be ready to handle that challenge? The webinar offers plenty of insights and it’s well worth tuning in to the entire thing. For example, the best practices list from the webinar lays out a specific process for managing succession and leadership talent with practical things that a health care human resources professional can do.

1. Audit your organization’s talent management system.

  • Which of the best practices set forth here are you consistently executing?
  • Which are executed sparingly or inconsistently?
  • Interview senior leaders to assess their perspective of talent management execution.

2. Sharpen you business case.

  • Elevate the strategic priority of talent management by highlighting its impact on clinical outcomes, using CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing program as a guide.
  • Compare anticipated retirements with leadership bench strength. Bench strength means having at least one candidate that is “ready now” to step into an executive role.
  • Develop a Talent Management Scorecard that benchmarks talent management and succession planning capabilities.

3. Align talent management with strategic initiatives.

  • Create a formal mentoring program for senior leadership teams that integrates high-potential employees you’ve identified through talent review sessions.
  • Engage senior leaders in teaching courses or holding learning sessions, as part of leadership development.
  • Ensure that high-potential employee development plans include participation in systemwide initiatives.

4. Enhance talent assessment and succession planning practices.

  • Adopt or develop a standardized high-potential assessment tool.
  • Utilize evaluation techniques that plot employee performance, potential and progress in critical positions, such as a nine-box grid.
  • Create talent profiles and succession plans for critical positions.
  • Assess high-potential leadership competencies at the front line.

5. Assess composition, format and consistency of talent review sessions.

  • Conduct annual talent review sessions that target multiple talent pools.
  • Complete annual talent review sessions at least two months following the completion of the performance appraisal process.
  • Staff annual talent review sessions with an experienced HR/organizational development facilitator.
  • Ensure reviews address high-potential leadership and the organization’s strategic initiatives.

6. Implement consistent, multirater performance feedback processes.

  • Offer employees in managerial roles standardized, confidential feedback.
  • Address their leadership competencies via 360-degree, multisource feedback.
  • Establish formal intervals (at least twice per year) in which high-potential employees meet with their supervisors for formal performance feedback.
  • Use goal-setting and incentive pay plans to support for talent management practices.

7. Enhance workforce diversity initiatives.

  • Accelerate your organization’s workforce diversity initiative by seeking transparency with the high-potential designation process and outcomes.
  • Formally train managers to clearly communicate high-potential status to employees, such as skills training in “crucial conversations.”
  • Identify management incentives that actively promote a culture of adopting an enterprise view of talent, such as “releasing” high-potential employees to other departments or business units.

8. Develop onboarding programs for managerial promotions and external hires.

  • Design formal onboarding programs to include employee orientation, new leader association activities, 90-day transition plan and stakeholder interviews.
  • Design and deploy formal onboarding programs for employees promoted into management positions or new roles, as well as managers hired externally.
  • Develop a leader assimilation program that facilitates new managers’ integration with their direct reports, peers and other key organizational stakeholders.

9. Develop high-potential employees.

  • Place high-potential employees into opportunities that are directly tied to strategic, systemwide initiatives.
  • Engage senior leaders in action-learning projects as part of “leadership academies.”
  • Utilize job rotations whereby high-potential leaders are reassigned on at least a half-time basis to roles in other functional units or facilities.

10. Evaluate and reinforce the talent management system.

  • Develop a Talent Management Scorecard with metrics that are most critical for reporting to the board.
  • Engage management teams in a discussion of the most critical metrics for evaluating the talent management system’s strategic impact.
  • Mandate annual reporting of your organization’s Talent Management Scorecard results to multiple stakeholders, including the governing board and management teams across the hospital or health system.