Succession training keeps senior management pump well primed

Staff development and succession planning are essential to any organisation’s ability to maintain a high-quality service over the long term. To ensure its senior management pipeline never runs dry, the Hospital Authority offers a diverse range of training opportunities across its departments and specialties to groom upcoming talent.

At the management level, the Corporate Exposure Scheme provides senior management with additional tools for assessing the operations and direction of HA at a macro level and for making better strategic decisions. The Executive Partnership Programme provides middle managers with an opportunity to gain practical experience of a different job function.

Expanding Horizons: Corporate Exposure Scheme

Rolled out in phases since 2012, the three-month Corporate Exposure Scheme (CES) now covers the nursing, allied health and administration departments. Participating members of senior management are based at HA Head Office during their time on the CES so that they can attend HA Board Meetings, Directors’ Meetings, Service Management Meetings and Senior Executive Roundtables. The CES also involves interacting with Chief and Senior Managers of different departments to learn more about the role and operation of HA’s various divisions. At the end of the three-month period, participants must present a short report at a Senior Executive Roundtable.

The specific structure of the CES is tailored to the needs of different groups of staff. Administrative staff, for example, the Senior Hospital Administrator and General Manager (Administrative Services) will spend time in the Business Support Services Department and Capital Planning Department, to gain insights into issues such as procurement, supporting services, medical engineering services and preparations and planning that supports HA’s large-scale capital works . They may even have a chance to visit the construction site. Among nursing staff, Cluster General Managers and all hospitals’ General Managers are eligible to take part in the CES. To date, over 10 managers have participated in this programme. Senior allied health professionals who wish to participate must have executive management experience.

Jimmy Wu, Senior Manager (Allied Health) notes that the CES provides a good chance for participants to network with other units and to understand better how their work can meet with the mission and vision of HA, in our quest for service excellence.

Building bridges through first-hand experience: Executive Partnership Programme

Various departments run tailored versions of the Executive Partnership Programme (EPP). The nursing staff group, for example, has been running an EPP since 1989. Nursing staff at any level can apply to practice at another hospital or in another specialty. This programme will continue to target middle management and provide training which is cross-cluster, cross-hospital or cross-specialty. The number of participants is expected to reach 3,000 in the future.

The Department of Infection, Emergency and Contingency (IEC) at HA Head Office also started an EPP in 2011, which provides high-potential middle managers with the opportunity to experience working life as a member of the IEC team. To date, 12 managers from various staff groups and different hospitals have participated in the programme.

Interested individuals must be nominated by their Hospital Chief Executive or Cluster Chief Executive and undergo an interview process before they are accepted. “The interview includes a case study exercise that is used to test the interviewee’s independent thinking and analytical skills,” says Andy Kung, Coordinator of the Major Incident Control Centre at Head Office and head of the EPP. “For example, how would they deal with a major power failure or fire in a hospital setting?”

Participants work in the IEC for at least six months, gaining practical experience in four main job roles: acting as a 24-hour on-duty officer handling the response to and contingency actions for any incidents; providing support in the preparation and communication of information related to various steering committees; involvement in large-scale cross-department drills; and evaluating contingency plans to ensure they remain relevant and comprehensive.

“The EPP builds bridges between colleagues at Head Office and those in hospitals by helping them to better understand each other’s jobs,” Andy says. “This will lead to more effective cooperation in the future.” He adds that providing a balanced experience, which includes skills development and an emphasis on sustaining service quality in addition to practical experience, offers long-term benefits for participating individuals and departments as well as for HA as a whole.醫院管理局

What participants tell

Irene Lee
Cluster General Manager (Nursing)
Hong Kong West Cluster

Cluster General Manager (Nursing)  Hong Kong West Cluster

“My experience highlighted the value of this type of training and I implemented a similar pilot scheme in the nursing department at Queen Mary Hospital this year. We gave two ward managers the opportunity to take part in a six-week cross-department rotation programme. The Department Operations Manager provided the pair with a full picture of daily operations, and both the Cluster Chief Executive and I had meetings with them to discuss key issues related to our roles and give a bird’s-eye view of the cluster’s operations. The programme is designed to help participants broaden their professional horizons and learn to think out of the box, resulting in more developed and mature management skills.”

Watson Wong
Senior Medical Technologist (Commissioning Team)
Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Strategy & Planning Division

Watson Wong Senior Medical Technologist (Commissioning Team) Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Strategy & Planning Division

“The CES was a very fruitful experience. Through attending various meetings, I gained a better understanding of the operations of Head Office, and of HA’s approach to strategic planning, including the implementation, monitoring and review of new initiatives. The biggest reward for me was learning more about how to build supportive, collaborative relationships with my colleagues and how to schedule and set targets that align well with the objectives of HA’s annual plans. Also, I now understand the importance of contrary thinking, grasping the opportune time, keeping the faith, and patience in working to overcome challenges – which are all very useful in working.”

Billy Wong
A&E Ward Manager
Pok Oi Hospital

Billy Wong A&E Ward Manager Pok Oi Hospital

“The working approach in IEC is very different from that in A&E. Although both situations demand quick reactions, in general one needs to be more cautious and take a broader view in IEC. For example, in IEC you may need to gather a lot of important information in a very short period of time in an emergency situation. However, that information could be used by key HA officials to make public announcements that affect everyone in Hong Kong, so it’s vital that everything is carefully vetted for accuracy and sensitivity. I am also very happy to have been given the opportunity to cooperate with government departments such as the Police Force, Fire Services and the Civil Aid Service.”

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