It’s never easy for an organization to lose someone in a leadership position. Change is never easy, but if you prepare for leadership departures, it can ease the process for everyone involved:
· Start early. Don’t wait until someone is dismissed or submits his or her resignation. Have a plan in place for what will happen, what information the person must provide, what interviews or communications must take place, etc. Review this plan over time to keep it up-to-date as needed.
· Put a transition team together. Create and involve a team to identify candidates for the job. Work with them to identify skill gaps that need to be filled, establish a timeline for the process – don’t rush it or let it lag, and get and keep everyone in the loop. Consider involving members of the team that this person will be overseeing for their insights about what skills they think their supervisor will need.
· Prioritize culture over skills. While you’re seeking candidates with the right leadership skills, don’t forget to look for people that fit in with your culture.
· Digitize experience. Don’t let the person leave without gaining their insights on how the job could be different or better, as well as what skills and abilities they think their successor will need. Consider integrating this into a training program or training materials/resources.
· Get candidates closer to clients. Before you hire anyone, have a candidate meet with staff and residents, observe these interactions, and seek feedback from everyone.