How Healthcare Interim Leaders Differ from Conventional Leaders

Because of the nature of their positions, Healthcare Interim Leaders normally enter a healthcare organization when it is in acute need. Although, by definition, interim leaders will serve in their role for “less than a full year’s business activity”, the influence of a healthcare interim leader can affect the organization’s structure for quite a long time.

Interim leaders must be strategic, consider what is in the best interest of the organization, manage and work with operations, all while knowing that he/she may not be there to see the strategy through. This type of role is meant for a special type of talent; a strong healthcare interim leader can handle feedback, criticism and at times hostility from permanent leaders of the healthcare organizations they assist.

This type of leader aims for success and engages completely to maximize his or her impact while minimizing the risk and damage that would have occurred had they not stepped in when needed.

The executive search consultants at Summit Talent Group work to match leaders with the skills, fortitude, and talent needed for interim leadership opportunities. Today, we will discuss not only the most important attributes of Interim leaders in healthcare but also the great benefits that come from choosing interim leadership as a career path.

What Makes Effective Healthcare Interim Leaders

Being an interim leader has as many advantages as it does challenges. If you crave change, this could be the right path for you. Interim leaders don’t have an opportunity to get complacent. Things are always changing. The best interim leaders always question the status quo. Even when things seem to be going right, they ask how things can be made better. Their aim is to always look to improve while assisting others to improve and grow with them. Stagnation is a good interim leader’s enemy.

Strong healthcare interim leaders must be able to clearly communicate with people throughout the organization and adjust their message to the audience they are working with. They must possess knowledge, sensitivity, decorum and even a sense of humor so they can properly assimilate into an organization in an efficient manner to engage and sway the workforce.   

As an interim healthcare executive, you must be able to think strategically and analyze the organization as a whole so that you can quickly propose and put in place a plan of action that will arrive at the best long-term benefits for the organization you are assisting. The key here is time. Unlike traditional leaders, you are working against the clock, so strategy and planning are paramount.

It is important to have a strong constitution. Interim leaders face unexpected challenges, unpredictability, and ambiguity. As such, understanding and deciphering the nuances of an organization and its leaders is key.

Because interim leaders in healthcare aim to achieve results that have long-lasting benefits, they are often tasked with looking into related initiatives. This can be a pitfall and should be avoided. Interim leaders must prioritize; focus is key with interim leaders who must block out some external noise that could defocus them from the assignment they are looking to complete.

Executive search firm specializes in healthcare interim leaders
Healthcare interim leaders work in completely different roles than traditional leaders. As such, placing them involves a different process

How Healthcare Interim Leaders Differ From Conventional Leaders

The differences begin in the recruitment process. Interim leaders must be prepared to travel and work in different locations, often while being away from family and friends.  They will need to cope with a certain amount of uncertainty and change, not only on assignments but also in their personal life. This unconventional type of role is balanced by stimulating assignments, professional fulfillment, and fiduciary rewards.

How are Interim Leaders Chosen for an Assignment

The process for identifying and placing the right healthcare leader varies depending on whether you are working with a healthcare recruiter, contingency firm, or boutique healthcare executive search firm. Today, since Summit Talent Group works the boutique firm model, we will talk about the latter.

When our team of executive search consultants is approached by a client to fill a C-suite interim position, we begin by going through our extensive set of contacts (if you would like to submit your resume, you can do so here) to find someone who not only has the right credentials and certification, but who will be a good cultural fit for the client. Ensuring that both the organization and the leader will have a fruitful and happy partnership is key to the success of the engagement.

Once we have narrowed down the pool of potential interim leaders, we set up phone and video chats to be absolutely sure that their skills and cultures match. These interviews are normally conducted by our president Seth, and Manager of Interim Services, Jackie Webb. We strive to really get to know the candidates, to see where they are in their lives and careers, and to be sure that they are the right interim leader for our clients.  

During this time, we give the candidates information about the client, their needs, the position, rates and benefits.

Following our internal vetting process, we present the qualified interim leaders to the client. The client will select candidates to interview; the majority of the time these are video interviews, although sometimes a client will require an in-person meeting. Once the client has chosen someone from the set of candidates presented, our team works with both sides to finalize the contract and begin to assist with the transition into the new position.

Interim Healthcare Leader Payment Structure

Because interim leaders work in highly specialized positions for short amounts of time, rates tend to be higher than a traditional leader would receive. Normally, interim leaders are paid a weekly fee based upon working a 40-hour work week. Overtime rates are also worked into the contract.

There are great benefits that come with being a healthcare interim leader. Because interim leaders tend to work away from their friends and family, employers will pay for temporary housing for the duration of the contract. This includes utilities, parking, a rental car, and some travel. Travel may include monthly flights back home and parking at the airport so the interim leader can spend time with family.

We sometimes see an alternating-week schedule, where the interim leader works on-site one week and is remote the following week. This allows the client to save on the housing and travel costs of a “traditional” interim leader. It is worth noting that this is not currently the norm, but something that progressive healthcare organizations are experimenting with.

Healthcare interim leaders also get to enjoy time off, but this must be negotiated early in the engagement. Most interim leaders enjoy the same holidays a traditional employee would enjoy. Vacations are for the most part unpaid. Because of the unconventional way most interim leaders work, they will take vacations between engagements.

Because healthcare interim leaders are not “employees” of the clients, but independent contractors of the executive search firm, it is expected that they procure their own insurance coverage including but not limited to Employer Liability, Vehicle Liability, General Liability, Professional Liability, Privacy/Security Liability and Worker’s Compensation. Whatever recruiter, healthcare search firm, or contingency firm you decide to work with should have resources to point you in the right direction when it comes to this type of thing.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a strong and effective healthcare interim leader? Contact us. We would love to get to know you.