When an organization loses a key member of the management team, it creates a void that can impact care delivery and overall operations in many ways. In order to avoid passing important duties to others already serving in vital roles, the use of interim management can ensure a smooth transition while seeking a permanent replacement. Below are some aspects to consider when leveraging interim leadership and overall benefits to your organization.

Evaluating your management needs

Assessing immediate needs is crucial when considering bringing in outside leadership. The following are basic questions to help identify your organization’s needs:

  • What duties were performed by the person being temporarily replaced?
  • What duties need immediate attention?
  • Are there projects in motion that need completion?
  • Will this person be responsible for budget, quality, or clinical outcomes?

After an assessment of needs, the search for skilled interim leader can begin. Establishing clear goals and expectations can greatly enhance the search for temporary help.

Gaining a smooth transition and fresh perspective

A common practice created by losing staff members is to simply hand over tasks to individuals that are already conducting crucial tasks for the organization, usually leaving them with little to no time for taking on these new tasks. Over burdening an already busy staff member may cause an unanticipated decline in productivity for an existing role. Another common mistake is to take a high performing staff member in one area and place them into a managerial role when they have no prior experience in people or project management. Bringing in an experienced executive or clinical manager can keep critical processes on track, maintain accurate and consistent operations and help look within or outside your organization for a permanent leader.

In the ever-changing world of healthcare delivery, interim managers can provide an “outsider’s” view of an organization’s operations and provide a fresh perspective. The interim leader can help assess work flow, productivity expectations and explore areas for quality improvement. If a project is already in place, the interim can utilize their skills to keep the project moving and ensure its completion.

Recruit efficiently and maintain staff satisfaction

Another advantage of bringing temporary management is working with Human Resources to review and interview prospective full-time replacements. Interim management can look for internal talent, review resumes and interview candidates for open positions. If staff turnover is a pain point for an organization, temporary management can help determine the root causes of the staffing problems. Additionally, onboarding a new leader can be accomplished with an interim manager. When training new talent, the interim leader’s experience can help prepare their replacement for their responsibilities, teach them about the organization’s culture, and give them a head start advantage on learning new technology that is frequently used in their position.

Keeping a steady hand in a key position can result in employee satisfaction. Whatever the cause of the vacancy, the staff that worked under the previous leader need to be reassured that their organization’s structure is sound. Providing a leader to manage, guide and mentor staff is key to employee satisfaction. Keeping up with Human Resource issues such as annual reviews or performance evaluations is important to avoid a backlog of work to be accomplished once a new leader is hired.

Maintaining budget while providing quality care

If an organization is looking for a cost vs. benefit ratio in utilizing interim management, consider the cost of tasks not being completed compared to maintaining a working organizational structure. Temporary management can review staffing needs to ensure that a healthcare organization is well equipped with a sufficient workforce to deliver care with the best clinical outcomes in a cost-efficient manner. When staff see that their place of work is organized and invested in providing solid leadership, turnover can decrease, saving an organization a large amount of money, time and resources they would have spent recruiting and training new staff. Utilizing a seasoned healthcare professional will use their skills to help maintain compliance, achieve consistent quality and accurate care delivery, and obtain better financial outcomes for providers.

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