When we talk about succession planning, it can be easy to overlook the benefits it can have on nursing performance and skip straight to scenarios where individuals with leadership potential are being taken off the floor and groomed to be the next CNO. While it is important to work with staff to develop their leadership skills and eventually take over these positions, succession planning can also be a great tool to grow retention rates and ensure your team members are knowledgeable and fulfilled in their roles.
According to a 10-yearlong study by the RN Works Project, 17.5% of newly licensed nurses leave their job within 1 year and 33.5% left within two. These numbers are especially noteworthy when taking into account the fact that the Baby Boomer generation is in the process of preparing to, or moving forward with, retirement. One tip for staying one step ahead is to hire an extra nurse who acts as a “float pool” and in turn helps to reduce workplace burnout.
While succession planning can help to drive down staggeringly high turnover rates, it also helps with knowledge retention so that the quality of care does not suffer when a tenured nurse of 20 years is replaced by a new grad who has been on the floor for 20 months. When nurses are planning to retire or transition into a new position, having them act as a mentor for several months prior can be a great way to retain their level of expertise, even if you can’t retain the individual.
Additionally, a good succession plan should incorporate continued education for all experience levels. By offering continued education, you are reinvesting in your staff who, more often than not, will want to reinvest in their organizations. This level of employee buy-in often manifests itself in improved performance metrics. One organization that has heavily invested in succession planning reported above average KPI’s in the following areas:
- Staffing and resource adequacy
- RN-to-RN interaction
- Professional development opportunity
- Professional development access
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