When to Use Interim Leaders

Interim leaders are becoming more and more integral to the operation of hospitals and healthcare systems because they are a convenient and effective solution to reduce the potential risk that may come from critical vacancies, complex projects, and in the event of mergers and acquisitions. Let us dive deeper into the various situations when working with an interim leader makes sense.

When to Use Interim Leaders in Healthcare

Using interim leaderships ensures leadership continuity
The many reasons hospitals and healthcare organizations are engaging interim leaders

In Case of a Critical Vacancy

When a key team member resigns or is forced into an unexpected leave of absence, the entire organization can be set into disarray. This is especially true when it comes to leadership positions such as vice president, director, or other executive positions. The cost of a vacant executive or C-suite position is more than just financial. In these cases, there are legal, reputational, AND financial risks that come about. When the departure is sudden or unexpected and if the affected department does not have a succession plan in place, the associated risk increases even more. In such instances, bringing on an interim leader can be the perfect solution to stabilize the department and bridge the gap while a permanent leader is put in place.

Interim leaders are a fantastic choice when it comes to placing a temporary leader to fill a critical vacancy, particularly for managing service lines, departments, and making sure that the current staff works fluidly during the permanent leader’s absence.  A strong interim leader can help your organization to minimize the negative effects that a leadership vacancy may yield. However, this depends on the quality of the interim as well as the onboarding and goals that are set for the interim leader.

When interim leaders are working as stand-ins for specialized leaders, they can do more than just fill-in. Interim leaders can bring an unbiased eye into a department to identify strengths and potential risks that may not have been identified in the past. They can also serve as an impartial eye who can spot staffing issues that a current, more involved leader may be emotionally blind to.

The occasion of a vacancy in a mission-critical or highly technical or specialized department presents a real opportunity to improve service and promote optimal performance while searching for the right permanent person to lead the department. Because interim leaders touch a large number of organizations, they are faced with all different types of challenges that require them to learn different skills and constantly come up with solutions. Having this kind of person on staff even for a short time can be incredibly beneficial.

Bridging a Gap During Special Projects

The second scenario when an interim executive, director, or manager can be advantageous to a hospital or health system is when there is a new project for which your current team does not have the necessary expertise.

Because these projects are shorter in duration, it does not make sense to hire a permanent leader, process them through human resources, etc.  Instead, bringing on an interim leader with the necessary skills to coordinate these projects is the perfect way to ensure that the project is completed properly and on time.

Interim leaders are ideal for these specialized projects. Because of their nature as interims, they acquire a large set of knowledge and skills. It is these qualities that help organizations to reach goals in a more effective and seamless manner than working with current leaders who may need to figure things out along the way.

Interim leaders can also help personnel to assimilate and can bring cohesion to a department during times of mergers and acquisitions.

Benefits of Interim Leader

Interim leaders do more than just bridge a gap. As mentioned above, healthcare interim leaders take on a variety of projects at different hospitals and health systems, they bring with them knowledge acquired throughout their engagements, knowledge that can yield incredible rewards to both departmental heads and the organization as a whole.

Because interim leaders are not direct hires, there are fewer costs involved. For example, interim leaders are not privy to benefits such as PTO, health insurance, or unemployment. This means that while the upfront cost of bringing on an interim leader may seem higher, there is a significant saving when looking at the engagement as a whole.

How to Hire an Interim Leader?

If you and your team have come to the conclusion that an interim leader is a perfect solution for your current needs, you are probably wondering how to find the perfect interim leader. Identifying the right person to place can be challenging and lengthy. However, the best healthcare executive search firms, including Summit Talent Group, offer interim services to complement searches for permanent talent so that your organization can run seamlessly during times of need.

Interim talent makes sense. Their skills, flexibility, knowledge, and status supersede the expense of hiring them.

If you want to learn more about how the team of healthcare search consultants at Summit Talent Group works to place interim leaders, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.