Skills for Care Interim CEO Andy Tilden urges care home providers to prioritise succession planning
At every stage of my career I have been a strong believer that our sector needs to constantly develop the skills and knowledge of our leaders and managers because they are the glue that holds organisations together.
Yet many people are still unaware that over the next 15 years at least 10,000 registered managers will be retiring, which means thousands of years of accumulated experience and wisdom will be lost.
That means every one of the sector’s 18,500 organisations need to start thinking now about their plans for succession as thousands of highly skilled and experienced managers head off into their well-earned retirement.
If that looming problem wasn’t enough of a challenge, there’s already a 22% annual turnover of registered managers as these highly sought-after leaders move around to develop their careers.
Those leaders are the experienced professionals who set the tone and standards in teams making sure that the people they work with can lead the rich lives they want to in the way that best suits their needs.
Their increasingly complex role is much more than that, as one minute they are supporting worried relatives to decide if their service best fits the care needs of their loved ones, the next calling an engineer to fix a broken lift or maybe taking advantage of a rare quiet moment to decide how they can best develop the skills and knowledge of their team.
But given their pivotal role, how many organisations reading this can confidently say they have a clear succession plan in place?
We know that getting started on succession planning can be tricky, so we’ve created the ‘Developing new managers and deputies’ online guidei asking employers to think hard and honestly about the pressing question: ‘Where’s your next manager coming from?’
The new guide is based on Skills for Care’s engagement with adult social care employers who are already developing the confidence of their aspiring and new managers.
I am also well aware of the financial pressures in our sector so I’m pleased to report that registered managers and their deputies can now benefit from a £3 million pot of money through the Workforce Development Fund (WDF)ii.
This is the first time that targeted funding for this key group of workers has been offered through the WDF that’s distributed by Skills for Care, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.
The £3 million fund is recognition that continuous professional development is essential for this highly committed group of leaders, and, crucially, it also supports those aspiring to take on leadership roles.
All the best providers know the importance of strong leaders who can access learning and development when they need it. That’s exactly why, if we’re arguing that structured succession planning for registered managers is vital, we must put in place resources and funding that will make sure employers can embed succession planning into their organisation’s culture and thinking.
It’s clear to me that when employers get succession planning right it offers a clear career pathway for those workers who want to become leaders and managers, but it also means that the people they serve are free to live fulfilled and productive lives.