You May Need an Interim Leader If…
Recruiting and managing a strong leadership team is a constant challenge for healthcare leaders. There is a multitude of factors that contribute to this including turnover, retirement, family leave, and competition for top-notch talent. Identifying, vetting, attracting and retaining talent can be a difficult, costly, and critical factor of a healthcare organization’s everyday operations. So, what can you do when you have a critical vacancy that needs to be satisfied or when your current leadership team is at a standstill? An interim leader could be the answer.
Challenges of Critical Vacancies in Healthcare Leadership
Healthcare leadership vacancies significantly increase risk across the entire organization. When a key position is left vacant for too long, it can result in depreciation of patient care, lower patient satisfaction rates, budgetary and financial issues, compliance risk, setbacks in achieving goals, and a drop in team morale which can result in even more vacancies. Needless to say, leaving those positions open for long is not an option.
If your organization did not have a succession plan for that particular department, or if there is no current internal talent that can be shifted into that leadership position, it can be hard to deliver quality care.
On average, it takes a hospital or healthcare organization up to a half a year to place a new leader. However, searches for highly specialized positions can take even longer due to the need to identify a leader that will have the right skills, temperament, and experience as well as be the right cultural fit for your organization. Allowing the timeframe of a search of this type without an interim leader in place is simply not acceptable and can have long-standing consequences that will be difficult to reverse.
If your healthcare organization is currently faced with this type of vacancy, an interim healthcare leader is a perfect answer. Interim leaders specialize in filling in when there is an important vacancy. They have the flexibility to travel country-wide to assist healthcare organizations with pressing leadership needs due to termination and short notice departures. But do not mistake an interim leader as merely someone to “hold down the fort”. Experienced interim leaders are effective and can affect positive change at your organization, remedy current issues, and bring fresh perspectives and experiences from previous interim positions.
Interim Leader Roles in Healthcare
An interim leader can assist in situations other than vacant leadership roles due to unfilled positions, long-term illnesses, and retirement. In fact, they can be incredibly effective when there are situations where current leaders are at a standstill in reaching a solution for a current problem. In these cases, interims are a source of incredibly valuable knowledge and should be expected to come in, assess the scope of the situation, draft a plan to alleviate it, collaborate with present staff to put the solution into place, step in to correct errors in processes and set up systems so that the same situation can be prevented once he or she has departed from the interim role.
Interim leaders can be incredibly helpful when special projects are taking place. For example, when a health care system is undergoing an EMR conversion they will need quite a few interim leaders – not just consultants – to handle all the details. These kinds of projects and conversions are serious undertakings during which various roles will be needed, roles that your current team may not be able to fill. This is a perfect time to work with a healthcare search firm that can assist in placing the right interim leaders in place.
Summit Talent Group is a Healthcare Executive Search Firm that Specializes in Interim Placements
If your healthcare organization is currently in need of a healthcare leader for either of the situations outlined above, contact us. Summit Talent Group understands the gravity of both situations and how important an effective interim leader can be. These temporary leaders can result in improved patient care, increased safety standards, lower financial risk, and reduced employee turnover. We look forward to speaking to you about your needs, our experience, and what our interim placement services can do for your healthcare organization.
Business Manager, Summit Talent Group