Designing a Succession Planning Framework to Improve Healthcare Hiring

One of the largest healthcare systems in the U.S., the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) cares for more than 600,000 patients annually. The average age of DHS employees is more than 50, and an increasing number of managers and supervisors in nursing and administration are nearing retirement age. With a tightening national workforce, DHS already was looking to create a system-wide succession plan to ensure leadership continuity and quality of care across its 19 health centers and four hospitals. Due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, DHS anticipates an acceleration of retirements and an even more pressing need for the existing talent pool to take the next step in their careers. FUSE Executive Fellow Omar Zoheri developed a succession planning framework for the entire health system, and, when COVID-19 hit, he helped direct the internal development of DHS leaders and manage telework initiatives. To develop a succession framework, Omar analyzed the recruitment needs and practices at DHS facilities, and he assessed succession plans and leadership development efforts within DHS and at other large healthcare facilities nationwide. He is also managing the efforts of the Telework Expansion Workgroup, which is reimagining how and where work can and should be done, both as a public health requirement in the short term and in a post-pandemic world. Additionally, Omar has taken the lead in the DHS campaign that highlights and promotes the great work of its staff during the pandemic. While continuing to develop internal leaders and work-from-home initiatives, Omar is also helping implement the succession planning process, creating a pool of well-qualified candidates who are ready to support COVID-19 surge capabilities and future staffing needs.