Interim Executives Offer Viable Solution to Keep Hospitals on Track
PLANO, TX, (March 13, 2023) – Interim executives can keep hospitals running smoothly while permanent leaders are sought to fill C-suite vacancies that can disrupt operations, according to
Community Hospital Corporation (CHC).
Interim leaders often make great candidates for hospital CEOs and other senior management positions because they bring decades of experience in improving operational, financial and
clinical performance, says Laurie Breedlove, CHC’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources.
Hospital Exec Turnover Remains High, Impacts Providers and Others
Recruiting interim executives can significantly ease the pain of hospitals experiencing high executive turnover, which has been the case in recent years. Healthcare organizations — along
with technology firms, government agencies and nonprofits — topped other industries for CEO turnover in 2022, according to a report by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas
CEOs aren’t the only executives leaving their positions. The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) has found a correlation between a CEO departure and other C-level
executives leaving within a year of the CEO. All C-suite vacancies fuel the uncertainties staff and providers face in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment, according to Breedlove, a
Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).
C-level departures at community and rural hospitals tend to be more disruptive than those at larger hospitals because their leaders have broader scopes of responsibility and less
Interim Exec Availability Widens Amid Pandemic
In the best-case scenario, when a leader departs, succession planning has taken place and there is already someone identified to fill the position. More often, though, Breedlove says an
immediate replacement is unavailable and recruitment is a prolonged process. To fill talent and sustain operations, interim executives can fill an important role.
“Since the pandemic, many hospital executives have semi-retired, creating a pool of ready-to-deploy temporary execs across C-suite disciplines,” says Breedlove. “They can assume critical
tasks, offer objectivity, and bring knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to the position. They also can shine a light on organizational blind spots when it comes to resource management and
Breedlove adds that with a desire to improve outcomes on a temporary, full-time basis, “these leaders can be valuable change agents, positioning hospitals for success while laying the
groundwork for recruitment of a full-time C-suite executive.” Additionally, hospitals utilizing short-term executives can provide the steady leadership needed
during challenging times, minimizing the impact of executive departures that can destabilize an
Interim Leadership Is Efficient and Can Also Offer Advantages
Interim leaders also should be seriously considered for permanent leadership positions. That’s because they have gained valuable insight into the organization, led the team through various
operational challenges, and positioned them to achieve successful outcomes. “There have been numerous instances of hospitals and health systems embarking on exhaustive searches for new
permanent leaders, only to find that their interim leaders were the best candidate for the positions,” Breedlove says.
Many hospitals have incorporated interim leadership into their talent strategies by partnering with a consultant to find the right fit for vacancies. Working with a partner, the process should
include a national search for qualified, culturally aligned candidates; a multipoint screening selection protocol; background checks; and assistance with interviewing and negotiating.
“Placement of Interim leaders buys time and provides stability during transitions,” Breedlove notes. “But it can accomplish so much more by assessing organizational needs and growth
potential through fresh eyes. Going forward, trends in healthcare and human capital will continue to drive the use of interim executives.”
Community Hospital Corporation owns, manages and consults with hospitals through CHC Hospitals, CHC Consulting and CHC ContinueCARE.