Talent and Succession

Talent and Succession

Talent and Succession

HEIW has a leading role establishing and managing the succession planning and talent management process for senior and executive leadership roles across NHS Wales.

Extensive research has been undertaken with best practice identified and learnt from other UK nations to inform the proposal for delivering the NHS Wales Succession and Talent Management Strategy 2017 - 2020 (ratified by NHS Wales Chief Executives in 2017).

The strategy’s ambition is to deliver a pipeline of senior level talent, underpinned by a technical solution, designed to guide the national approach, as well as be utilised within local NHS organisations. This will support consistent and inclusive mechanisms for talent identification as well as inform senior level succession planning.

In support of the delivery of this strategy, by March 2021 HEIW will have:


A National Talent Board to assist in steering the direction of travel for Wales will be established between October to December 2020. It will be chaired by Dr Andrew Goodall and comprise senior leaders at Chief Executive and Director level. This Talent Board is crucial to establishing opportunities across Wales which allow leaders to develop the skills and experience necessary to successfully and effectively function at executive level. A lack of national collaboration and reluctance to release individuals across borders has been one of the main challenges to providing this in the past and it is hoped that a national co-productive approach to succession planning will be supported by a Talent Board with widespread representation.

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During the covid-19 pandemic, organisations experienced a surge of compassionate leaders from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds responding to one of the biggest crises the NHS has ever experienced. These leaders, sponsored by their Chief Executive or Executive Directors, will be invited to the HEIW virtual Talent Summit to help co-design an inclusive process for identifying and managing talent across NHS Wales.Attendees at this summit will also help inform the leadership development required to support existing and aspiring senior and executive leaders and be invited to join a ‘compassionate leadership network providing access to a range of leadership master classes between September 2020 and March 2021.


In order to support identification of ‘ready now’, or ‘ready soon’ senior and executive leaders, a Success Profile (SP) will be co-created with established educational psychologists. Success Profiles outline a prioritised set of leadership behavioural competencies, experiences, strengths/traits and motivations, anchored in the specific strategic context and the demands of the job or role. They have been widely used to assess candidates using a range of selection methods in other public services, as well as the private sector, and encourage maximum fit between the employee and job required, driving up performance and improving diversity and inclusivity.


Whilst ‘Gwella’ our digital leadership portal, will provide a robust solution for supporting aspiring leaders, a talent management solution is also required to manage and support individuals within the talent network. Visibility of ‘ready now’ talent is required, along with intelligence of where robust succession pipelines exist, but also where there are areas of vulnerability and hard to fill roles which may need targeted talent and succession drives. Talent management software and dashboard capability will enable talent to be effectively managed across NHS Wales.