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In healthcare there has always been an attitude that the need for a nurse or a doctor is steadfast, no matter what happens to our economic climate. While that may be true, it doesn't mean healthcare workers will always remain in one place. As new nursing graduates enter the workforce, they bring with them the Millennial mobile mentality. These new hires want to move and this can create a lack of leadership needed at healthcare organizations.

Strong leadership and talent retention are tantamount in providing the best healthcare services, yet according to Cornerstone's director of industry solutions Gayle Loving, more than 25 percent of new nurse graduates will leave their first job within two years. Identifying talent that wants to stay and grow within an organization is key to succession planning in healthcare. Learning how to identify these folks and understanding their importance was the topic of a recent webinar hosted by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) and Cornerstone OnDemand.

While there are always jobs in the medical profession, "buying" leadership isn't as easy in the healthcare industry, says CEB's Jarrett Shalhoop. “Investment in our current workforce is key," he adds. Shalhoop has used his background in psychometrics to identify a key distinction for advancement and retention of leadership at healthcare organizations: high-potential employees are not the same as high-performance workers. While most organizations see high performers as their top talent, it's the high potentials that will become the next leaders at an organization — something the healthcare industry critically needs. Shalhoop says that the leadership trait of confidence (displayed by employees who can grow within the organization as mentors and managers) in the healthcare sector is lower than the international average.

These three characteristics of high-potential employees can be indicative of leadership success, Shalhoop says:

  1. Ability: Reasoning, interpersonal skills, emotional regulation and technical skills.
  2. Aspiration: Interest in responsibilities and challenges associated with senior roles.
  3. Engagement: Commitment to organization, effort and intent to stay.

Simply identifying people who demonstrate these qualities isn't enough. The most successful healthcare organizations not only identify high-potential employees, Loving says, they also invite them into the leadership conversation. They shouldn't assume that everyone wants to be a leader.

“Many times organizations assess folks and look at their career preferences, but they don’t really ask the employee to opt-in," Loving says.

Listen to the full webinar here

Photo: Can stock