Preserving your legacy: Preparing for the future of your health care facility team

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Image: surgeons running through a hallway

If someone on your team were to announce their retirement today, would you be prepared with a qualified replacement?

A looming fact...
A mass exodus threatens the horizon in the health care planning, design, and management fields.

A recent survey conducted by HFM in cooperation with ASHE and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) found that of 1,047 health care facility professionals, roughly 31 percent had more than 25 years of experience in health care, signifying that leadership is getting grayer and grayer.

This statistic indicates that now is a critical time for succession planning, or preparing talented individuals within and outside of a facility to fill key vacancies.

Succession planning challenges for health care facility teams
Replenishing the pipeline of health care facility planning and management professionals is no easy task. Health care teams across the nation face a set of unique challenges with succession planning strategies for their departments.

  • Specialized knowledge. Replacing facility planning and management professionals in the health care field is difficult. The health care physical environment is highly regulated – far more than in other industries. Acquiring the requisite specialized knowledge and understanding what needs to be done and building relationships with authorities having jurisdiction all take time.
  • Lack of exposure. Not enough young professionals know about the health care facility profession. ASHE has taken strides to improve this through its internship program, university relationships, and the Ilse B. Almanza Scholarship Fund, but often a career in this field is something professionals stumble upon.
  • Insufficient education entryways. Few education opportunities lead into health care facility careers. Except for a small number of college and university programs that have worked with ASHE to develop education courses, not many opportunities are available for young professionals seeking to enter the field.
  • Long tenures. As the latest HFM Salary Survey indicates, the upper ranks appear to have a “log jam” of health care facility professionals. This glut may discourage high-potential \facility employees from pursuing leadership opportunities.

What can you do to preserve the legacy of your health care facility team?
Start succession planning now! A small window of time remains to plan for retiring facility leaders at your organization.

While human resources departments are active in recruiting new talent, health care facility teams need to assist them by helping to identify holes in the ranks and create job descriptions to make sure the right candidates are selected for interviews. In addition, get your C-suite team on board to make sure you have adequate resources allocated for your succession plan.

ASHE’s monograph Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future of Your Facility and Your Career aims to guide organizational succession planning and personal career development for health care facility positions.

The PDC Summit hosts a student design competition each year. Consider attending the breakout session, AIA/AAH PDC Student Challenge 2019 Overview and Winner Presentation for a glimpse into the talent and skill of the upcoming generation.