Should I Work with an Interim Healthcare Leader?

As discussed in previous articles, an interim healthcare leader can be of incredible benefit to healthcare organizations. Particularly when key team members such as senior executives, clinical, and departmental directors are promoted, need to take a sudden hiatus from their roles, are terminated or if they move to another healthcare organization.

Today, we deliberate on the various ways you and your team can come to a decision on whether an interim healthcare leader is right for your hospital or healthcare system at this time.

Should I work with an Interim Healthcare Leader?

Interim healthcare leadership recruiters
When interim healthcare management makes sense.

Interim healthcare leaders are the answer when key c-suite and executive positions need to be filled, but a permanent candidate has not been identified. Interims are the perfect way to bridge the gap during this transition period, but they can often do much more than simply fill a position. The most effective interim healthcare leaders will push the department ahead while the search engagement is in progress.

Because positions such as managers and directors need to be conscientiously placed, searches tend to take a long time. However, the longer it takes to replace that valuable executive the more financial, reputational, and operational risks increase. The cost of a healthcare vacancy (COV) can range from $8,000 to $14,000 per day. This is simply not an acceptable cost.

This is when interim healthcare leaders are the perfect solution. Career interim leaders are not people who are in limbo while waiting for their next position. Career healthcare interim leaders specialize in a nomadic lifestyle, are flexible, and come with the wide-ranging knowledge that can be of incredible benefit to your organization. But is your organization truly ready for an interim healthcare leader? Let us look at a few factors and situations when you should consider this option.

When a leader is terminated due to performance issues, interim healthcare leaders can be incredibly effective. Because interim leaders work under many different scenarios, they can often come in and identify issues and offer solutions for them.

In case of unexpected departures such as a leader’s move to a rival organization, effective interims can come in, evaluate the current needs of the organization and implement plans to both stabilize and push forward.  

When vacancies happen with mission-critical positions, the risks are simply too high. It does not make sense to increase the probability of reduced patient safety and satisfaction, reputational issues, and increased turnover throughout the organization. When a key leader is absent in a position that can affect revenue, risk, and operations, utilizing a professional interim can stabilize things until a permanent leader is put in place.

As briefly mentioned above, interim leaders can mitigate potential issues with staff including increased workload, team morale, and organization disruption that can all lead to decreased productivity and increased departmental turnover at all levels.

Interim healthcare leaders can be quite helpful when your hospital or healthcare system is undergoing a special project for which your current leadership team is not skilled for, for example – converting a payroll system. In these cases, interim leaders mean fewer compliance issues, faster completion time, and in turn lower overall costs.

There are also those unfortunate and delicate times when a vacancy happens due to death or illness. During these times, placing an interim is not only about filling the gap until a permanent leader is found. During these times, an experienced interim with a gentle touch can help the current staff deal with the transition and loss.

What is the Cost of an Interim Leader

The immediate cost of an interim leader is another factor that needs to be considered when deciding if this is the right step for your healthcare organization. Although the cost of a career interim may seem higher upfront, there are many considerations that make this type of leader a good value proposition. Outside of the more obvious factors such as the financial, reputational, and operational risks that are exacerbated by a vacancy, interim leaders come with other financial benefits. Because they are not employees of your organization, interim leaders are not privy to benefits such as vacation days, health insurance and the such. This can mean a significant reduction in costs.

Work with the Leading Interim Healthcare Search Firm

If you are closer to thinking that a healthcare interim leader may be right for your current vacancy, contact us. Summit Talent Group is a boutique healthcare executive search firm that compliments its c-suite and executive searches with interim leadership services.

As a boutique firm, we only take on a limited number of engagements. That means that the searches are led by our principals and that search tasks are not delegated to less experienced team members, and because of our extensive experience in the healthcare field, we understand the challenges that our clients face on a daily basis.

We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about you, your team and your mission.