Interim Management Solutions: Take Time to Pursue the Right Hire

What do you do when you have a vacancy in your top-level leadership team? Do you rush to find a replacement, or do you pursue an alternative approach, such as finding an interim management solution, and take the necessary time to find a long-term leader? When senior leadership positions turn over, whether planned or not, there is a gap in institutional knowledge and strategic and operational deployment that must be filled. While the quick fix might be giving the role to a current employee who may not be prepared for the part or hiring the first person who might fit, this decision is typically not the best long-term choice for the practice. A better option is to engage seasoned healthcare leaders who enjoy serving in the role of an interim executive.

Finding executive talent is getting tougher for healthcare organizations as the shrinking supply of top-level leadership meets the rising demand for top-notch talent. Due to an industry-wide talent drain, lack of emphasis on mentoring, and little to no succession planning, delays and disappointments arise in hiring that leave crucial positions open for extended periods. Vacancies in senior management can cause communications to suffer, initiatives to lose pace, and disruptions to occur.Interim management placements provide stop-gap and seasoned executive leadership to both hospital-employed physician networks (EPNs) and private medical practices by offering short-term or longer-term management assistance to ensure that practices do not falter during a change in senior management. Engaging an interim executive offers many benefits including:

  • Provides extensive experience, often in areas of particular relevance to the hiring organization
  • Mitigates the tension that arises from the departure of the incumbent
  • Allows time for a broad talent search to fill the position permanently
  • Enables management to continue with the deployment of current strategic and tactical plans

Whether their departures are planned or not, when senior leadership positions, such as CEO, COO, VP, Executive Director, Administrator, and/or Practice Manager, turn over, the vacancies leave a gap in both institutional knowledge and strategic and operational deployment. In that scenario, EPNs and medical practices sometimes scramble to fill non-physician management roles, often with candidates who are not quite ready to lead and implement. In some instances, these assignments are given to employees within the practice who are known to the practice, yet they are unprepared for the role. In other situations, physicians may hire the first person who they feel might fit the role of the senior manager, whether it’s a non-physician CEO, an Executive Director, or an Administrator. These leadership positions should be viewed with the gravity of the role they play within the organization. A careful, well-planned search should be undertaken to recruit qualified candidates who will fit the organization culturally and with a trail of success in medical management. Interim management provides a solution that affords the time to identify the right candidate for the long-term success of the practice.

Finding an Interim Executive

A better option is to engage seasoned healthcare leaders who enjoy serving in the role of an interim executive. They tend to come to the job with extensive experience, often in areas of particular relevance to the hiring organization. Well-placed interim leaders allow for a broad talent search that yields the best possible candidate to fill the vacant position.Coker offers client partners the human capital to deploy interim managers who are senior executives with, on average, 25 years of practice management experience. Settings include EPNs and private medical practices, from single specialty to multi-specialty. Additionally, with the experience that Coker offers, the senior level management vacancy can be filled temporarily by an executive who can continue to aid the organization. The interim placement option is a valuable solution to relieve the stresses of having an open position in a vital management role and provides leadership while a permanent position can be filled.If you would like to learn more about how Coker Group can assist your organization through interim management, please contact us to speak with Jeff Gorke, Senior Vice President.

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