Imagine this: you are the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of a large health plan and you’ve just been told that the CEO has announced, unexpectedly, that they’ll be retiring in six months. You have no successor in place, nor a plan for any of their incumbents. Soon, there will be an empty executive role to fill, and even the most qualified internal candidate would require months of time to ramp up to adjust to the new job.
If that doesn’t resonate, here’s another situation. As CEO of a mid-sized biotech, despite retention bonuses, you have not been able to reduce voluntary employee turnover. Your board is concerned and wants an immediate and sustainable plan to reduce attrition of key talent.
In the moment, chaotic situations like these might feel impossible to resolve. And while we won’t minimize how complex the issues facing leaders today are, we believe there are some that can benefit from straightforward action steps and planful solutions. Collectively, TLD Group has spent decades developing and implementing solutions to some of the industry’s thorniest challenges. In this blog, we discuss solutions to four of the most challenging people problems we’ve seen leaders face this year and ways to tackle them for sustained results.
1. Preventing unwanted employee turnover.
Hospital turnover rates stand at 22.7%. The pandemic, normalization of remote work, and increasing prioritization of work-life balance have caused many employees to reevaluate their employment situation and in some cases look for new jobs. As resignation rates remain high, leadership will need to find new ways to keep voluntary employee turnover at bay.
To address this challenge, we suggest first determining your current unintended turnover rate (the number of unwanted resignations per year divided by your total number of employees), then identifying why these employees are leaving. Do they feel undervalued by their manager? Are they experiencing stagnation in their role? Is the organizational culture open to their ideas? Are they overworked, or under-supported? Understanding current employees’ concerns can inform your retention plan.
Once you have awareness of why your employees are leaving, you can start to address their concerns. For employees who feel unappreciated, consider implementing a recognition program which celebrates team members’ accomplishments, such as a shoutout during a meeting, a free meal, or a handwritten note. If your employees are feeling a lack of growth in their job, invest in ways for them to grow and advance, like executive coaching or a class to develop new skills. If your engagement scores point to needing improvement in the culture, consider Leadership Rounds to hear ideas directly from employees. And if your team members have too much on their plate, partner with them to prioritize work and/or shift some responsibilities on their plate to a new (or existing) team member who has the ability and time to take on the task.
2. Developing skills to execute on role priorities.
Every role requires a unique set of skills and behaviors. Leaders should have a clear definition of role requirements and the qualities their employees need to possess in order to flourish in their roles, likely a mix of technical and behavioral skills, previous experiences, and personal goals and priorities. Once these qualities are identified, leaders can design on-the-job development opportunities and training programs to help their employees develop in role.
One way to develop the skills your employees need to execute effectively is action learning. When working on a strategic project that incorporates action learning, employees learn specific skills and leadership behaviors while working on organizational priorities.
At TLD Group, we design customized leadership academies to build the required capabilities of leadership aligned with the organization's mission and priorities. Take a look at the physician leadership program designed for the Northeast Georgia Health System to learn how academy participants grow as leaders over just a few months.
3. Ramping up employees quickly and effectively.
When a new employee steps into a role, whether they are an internal or external hire, they will likely experience a learning curve. Internal hires may struggle to lead former colleagues, while external hires may find it hard to get to know a completely new set of people on top of a new workplace and culture. Organizations need methods to help new employees adjust and succeed in their new roles quickly.
Many of the steps that new leaders can take to orient to their positions quickly are practices that remain important throughout their career. These include understanding their organization’s mission and values, getting to know key stakeholders, studying work processes and safety protocols, observing daily operations, and listening to feedback. In a nutshell, having a structured approach to onboarding new employees to people, processes, and systems can help them assimilate more quickly and effectively.
In addition to these specific steps, organizations may also consider having their leaders participate in formal onboarding. TLD Group also supports new leader assimilation as part of our executive coaching solutions, to enable leaders to integrate effectively, build relationships with key stakeholders, and create impact early into their tenure.
4. Having a succession plan in place.
Earlier, we mentioned an imaginary (but not impossible) situation in which a long-time CEO announced their retirement unexpectedly and earlier than assumed. Leadership positions have not been immune to unexpected turnover, with research by the American College of Healthcare Executives recently reporting an 18% turnover rate for CEOs in the healthcare industry. Is your executive leadership team prepared to address gaps in talent if someone leaves the organization?
To be ready to fill these gaps and offer support to the remaining leaders, organizations must create and implement a succession plan, or a blueprint that identifies individuals who are able to fill critical leadership positions. By starting succession management before an incumbent leader even begins to consider their departure, organizations can ensure business continuity and growth into the future.
A strategic succession management process includes:
- Developing a detailed success profile of characteristics, job competencies, leadership expectations, knowledge, skills, and experiences required for the future.
- Designing a sustainable talent management process to select and develop the next generation of leaders and/or determine if key roles need to be filled with external candidates.
- Customizing development for incumbents which includes strategically managed assignments, coaching, and targeted training.
What’s stopping you from implementing these solutions? Time, money, or other pressing priorities? At TLD Group, we believe that these solutions may not be simple, but deciding to prioritize them can be straightforward.
TLD Group has mastered ways to support leaders to solve their most pressing problems. We'd love to help your organization master them, too.