Why Succession Planning Crucial to Business Survival

The pandemic has served as a wake-up call to be prepared for the unexpected. For many senior living organizations, that means revisiting their succession plan and for others, it means creating a succession plan.

What is succession planning? According to Wikipedia, succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace current leaders when they leave, retire, or pass away. It’s the process of identifying critical roles in a company and the core skills associated with those roles, and then identifying possible internal or external candidates to assume those jobs when the incumbents leave.

Leadership gaps, whether expected or unexpected, can lead to confusion, chaos, and stress among stakeholders, employees and even residents. Your senior care organization needs a proactive approach to address a transition in leadership to mitigate the risk of losing workers and residents, not to mention the overall reputation of your community.

Succession planning requires the buy-in of top management and in the case of nonprofits, the Board of Directors. So, where do you start?  Here’s a basic “to do” list that will help with readiness:

  • Establish clear objectives and goals
  • Identify key roles that require succession planning
  • Clarify key role descriptions and corresponding talent profiles
  • Develop timelines of retirements and possible departures
  • Identify internal and external candidates as potential successors
  • Set high standards and make sure potential successors have equal or better qualifications
  • Keep succession plan up to date

While succession planning may seem like a time-consuming and tedious process, it benefits your organization in a number of ways:

  • Enables Disaster Proofing.  If one of your leaders resigns, retires, contracts a serious illness (or worse), or is lured away by a competitor, your organization becomes vulnerable. Having a succession plan is a safety net for your organization to operate without disruption.
  • Identifies Future Leaders. Take a thorough look at your organizational chart to best understand potential leadership vulnerabilities. Then, take time to identify future leaders. If you select internal candidates, it’s time to cross train them in key roles. On the other hand, if there are no internal candidates right for leadership positions, then it’s time to begin an external search.
  • Aids Employee Retention. Succession planning often recognizes ambitious internal candidates and let’s them know their hard work and skills have been noticed and they’re being considered for future advancement.
  • Creates New Development & Training Programs. If your organization has identified internal successor candidates, you will need to pinpoint any competency and/or skills gaps and begin grooming them for their future roles. Professional development may be in the form of cross-training, coaching, mentoring, job shadowing, additional college classes and/or certifications.
  • Maintains Brand Identity. Succession planning helps to maintain a good reputation and the continuation of your brand. Your organization’s brand promise needs to grow in strength and value through the ups and downs of your business.
  • Provides Peace of Mind. Change and uncertainty happen fast. When your company knows where it’s going, your team can plan for the future.

Thinking about replacing senior leaders during a crisis may seem overwhelming. However, hoping that your leadership stays stable and in place isn’t a plan or strategy.  Having a succession plan in place will pay long-term dividends for achieving the organization’s mission without interruption regardless of future pandemics, uncertainties, or disruptions.

MedBest’s Succession Planning Blog from 2018 can be found here. 



Julie Rupenski is the Founder, President & CEO of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since then, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. Her specialties include filling C-Suite, Vice President, Regional, and Property level positions.

Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry.  She previously worked in operations for both Senior Housing and Senior Living prior to founding MedBest. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact.

Julie earned her degree in Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and continues to cultivate her career through senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos.

Contact Julie Rupenski at jrupenski@www.medbest.com / 727-526-1294.

(Julie’s industry articles and interviews have been published in Provider Magazine, Argentum Quarterly, LeadingAge Magazine, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Assisted Living Association, Florida Senior Living Association, LeadingAge Florida, LeadingAge Indiana, Pennsylvania Health Care Association, Oregon Health Care Association, and Virginia Assisted Living Association.)



MedBest is an award-winning national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire exceptional senior care talent, permanent and interim executives, for the full continuum of LTC facilities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing Facilities, and Home Health Care.

Contact us at 727-526-1294 / info@www.medbest.com


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