Strategies to Optimize Outcomes from your Interim Leaders – Part 2

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Last week, we introduced the first part of our four-part series that focuses on optimizing outcomes from interim placements. As we mentioned in the initial post of this series, the fourth quarter of 2018 saw the highest increase in wages and salaries in a decade. Seeing as current wage growth may add an additional layer of financial pressure to hospitals who are already seeking to reduce operating costs, it is crucial for hospitals that are in need of external or interim expertise to employ the right strategies in order to optimize outcomes. The key strategies below outline the five core elements of this series and will explore specific strategies to optimize outcomes from interim leaders.

Key Strategies
1. Establish expertise desired in the candidate
2. Determine “fit” with the culture and beliefs of the organization
3. Identify the Executive Sponsor
4. Define goals, objectives and deliverables
5. Achieve quick wins to set a tone of success

1. Candidate Expertise 

First, think about the hard skills required for the role which are often articulated in the job description for the vacant position. 

  • What certifications or licensure must the candidate have?
  • Do you need someone to maintain day-to-day operations or institute change?
  • What types of past experience is required as it relates to the position you are filling?
    • Department management including size of budget and specific number of FTEs
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Successful accreditation visits
    • Developing collaborative working relationships with physicians and nursing staff
    • Level of expertise required to redesign processes or implement change

2. Determine “Fit”

Consider the soft skills required for the position. 

  • Are you looking for a hard driving “take charge and make change” approach?
  • Is a collaborative approach required?
  • Do you need a candidate that is nurturing and emotionally healing, which may be required if the department recently has undergone traumatic change.

With either approach you will need a person who can support the morale of the department and interdepartmental relationships.  Determining the characteristics for success is absolutely necessary to getting the right fit in a candidate.  

Finally, consider the vetting process for the interim.  Contemplate who in your organization should interview the candidate. In the case where an Interim Leader may be inheriting a contentious situation, it may be best for the Executive Sponsor to be the sole interviewer from a top-down decision making approach. However, Interim engagements are more often positioned for success when key stakeholders are included in the interviewing and decision-making process such as leaders of areas that frequently interact with the department the interim will lead.  Interim candidates are typically interviewed by phone or utilizing webcam technology making it easier to coordinate.  Ideally, a hospital should interview at least 2 candidates to find an optimal fit.  Develop, or use a current HR scoring sheet for each interviewer to document their impressions and recommendation for contracting. 

It is important for the interim to understand the organization including the evolution of its culture. Whether the interim is tasked with maintaining day-to-day operations or with instituting change, a fundamental understanding of the organization’s culture will provide a framework for success going forward.    

This is the second of a four-part series related to optimizing outcomes with an interim position. Stay tuned for the following articles which will outline subsequent strategies for selecting and optimizing the role of an interim leader in your organization. To receive updates on subsequent posts, follow us on LinkedIn. Or, visit our website to speak with someone today about how Novia Solutions can help with your candidate search.

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