Succession Planning More Important in Social Care Than At Any Time in last 5 Years
• Succession planning set to become more important in the future say 40%
• Care providers far more sophisticated than most private sector companies – looking to the long-term as well as the short-term and looking at more than the top layer of management
HR professionals working in social care say succession planning is now more important to them than it was in 2009, research from Randstad Care, the specialist recruiter for social care workers has found.
In a poll of 100 HR directors and senior HR professionals, 59 per cent working in the care sector said succession planning was now more important than it had been five years ago.
According to Workpocket 2014/15, Randstad’s guide to HR, published today, succession planning focuses on identifying potential future leaders to fill key positions. In a climate of talent shortage and lack of confidence in leadership potential, there is renewed interest in succession planning. 41 per cent of HR directors working in care said it is set to become a higher priority in the future – with none suggesting it was going to become less important.
Victoria Short, managing director of Randstad Care, said: “Sound succession planning is not just about risk-mitigation. It helps ensure employees know they’re being groomed for a particular position, which gives them a strong sense of having a clearly defined future within the organisation. This is a powerful retention tool that taps into career fulfilment. With escalating shortages at senior and middle manager level and a service that is increasingly stretched, it’s more important than ever to retain good people.”
The talent management and retention elements in succession planning are set to become more important. Previous Randstad Care research forecast that in order to support the predicted UK population by 2050, the social care workforce would need to be grow by over 1,500 a year from 2008. To ensure top talent is retained in the sector, better succession planning will be needed to help slow the widening gap between the supply of social care workers and demand.
But the sector is well placed to use succession planning effectively. When hiring externally, almost of quarter (24 per cent) of the UK’s employers aim to fill a specific role and they don’t look to put people in place capable of dealing with the challenges their new role might present in the future. But only a fifth (19 per cent) of HR professionals in working in social care say they operate along such short-term lines.
Victoria Short said: “When it comes to succession planning the UK’s corporate employers appear to be lagging behind the increasingly sophisticated HR practices in the social care sector. Too often succession planning efforts focus too much on the process: the presentations, forms, charts, and checklists. These are important, but they are only precursors to what succession planning is really about – development. Unlike other parts of UK plc, social care providers aren’t just going through the motions. This is a people orientated sector which centres around making sound judgements day in and day out. It seems that skill is also proving highly effective in the recruitment of long-term talent.”
Additionally, 41 per cent of senior HR professionals operating in social care said they focus their succession planning on the top three levels of management and below – compared to the UK average of 37 per cent.
Victoria Short said: “Traditionally, organisations felt succession planning should be limited to a handful of senior management positions. By focusing on only the top one or two levels of management, the process was supposed to remain manageable as only a small percentage of the workforce will be involved in succession planning. But that risks demotivating and alienating a large portion of your workforce. Plus, as recruiters know, a growing number of middle-management positions are becoming as challenging to fill as some of the top spots. From this point of view, the social care sector is a paragon of succession planning virtue.”
And to ensure succession planning is meeting their organisation’
Victoria Short said: “To know who you need to hire, you need to know where your care provision is headed. It’s not enough to continue to recruit the same sort of people you’ve always done or ask at interview ‘where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?’” That question has died a death. What the social care sector is doing particularly well is thinking ahead with a sound idea of what the social care worker of the future needs to look like and then asking questions around what skills and abilities they can build on and how they’ll go about adding value in the future. Considering the added complexity facing the public sector of the unpredictability of Government cuts – it’s a focus that is to be applauded.”
The 2014/15 issue of Workpocket can be ordered here: