There are many reasons why organizations need to be thinking about succession planning. The most important reason, of course, is that our patients rely on our directors and staff to carry out our missions, provide services and meet our community’s need. It is important, albeit uncomfortable, to think about what would happen to those services or the ability to fulfill our mission if a key staff member left.
The impending retirement of the baby boomers is expected to have a major impact on workforce capacity. Teresa Howe in “Succession Planning and Management” identified other emerging realities about the workforce:
- Vacancies in senior or key positions are occurring in numerous organizations simultaneously and demographics indicate there are statistically fewer people available to fill them
- Baby boomer retirements are on the rise just at the time when the economy is growing and increasing the demand for senior management expertise
- There is no emerging group of potential employees on the horizon as in past generations (i.e. baby boomers, women entering the workforce, large waves of immigration)
- Many organizations eliminated middle manager positions during restructuring in the 1980s and 90s and no longer have this group as a source to fill senior level vacancies
- Younger managers interested in moving up do not have the skills and experience required because they have not been adequately mentored. This is because middle managers, who would normally perform this type of coaching role, were eliminated