Don’t Overlook the Interim Leadership Option

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The coronavirus outbreak has leaders focusing intensely on navigating the daily crisis, while also exploring ways to avoid setbacks to long-term growth and efficiency objectives. An option to address these twin needs is deploying interim leadership to target specific objectives and processes in situations of continual disruption. Following are some brief considerations to help organizations assess the relevance of this approach for their specific requirements.

The Broad Impact of Crisis-Induced Staffing Disruptions

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, maintaining staffing continuity throughout the hospital or health system is both essential and challenging. Temporary staff shortages and workflow disruptions are arising caused by factors such as:

  • People out sick or under quarantine for virus-related concerns.
  • Staff conducting work remotely often under non-optimal conditions.
  • Individuals at all levels who are adding additional functions or temporarily reassigned from their regular duties, including doctors working outside of their specialties to help treat the surge of patients.

The direct impact of these dislocations is meaningful. Productivity losses are inevitable in this environment. So are delays in executing core processes, whether those be clinical, financial, supply chain, or human resources. Additional costs are being incurred, and cash flow is under strain.

Beyond the immediate effects on everyday operations, these staffing and work dislocations can also generate negative consequences for critical longer-term organizational strategies. Healthcare is still in early stages of major initiatives to achieve value-based care, population health management, consumer-centricity, agile workforces, and related objectives essential to 21st century care. Progress in these areas may be slowed or sometimes endangered as the pandemic diverts leadership and staff attention, puts innovations on hold, and forces instances of reversion to traditional ways of doing business.

The Interim Management Option

One resource to help alleviate these pressing workforce management issues that may be overlooked is interim leadership. Often deployed when vacancies arise, interim executives can also play a vital role in disrupted scenarios like the current one. They offer significant flexibility. Interims are available from middle management through the C-Suite, for administrative and clinical positions, for assignments from a variety of functional areas, and across institutional types (community hospitals, academic medical centers, and many others).

Interims bring at least five unique capabilities well-suited to today’s urgent environment:

  • Highly experienced with deep expertise.
  • Able to “hit the ground running” and contribute with minimal onboarding.
  • Used to approaching assignments with great flexibility.
  • Committed to their work. AMN Healthcare surveys consistently show that interim executives view their role as a career, not a temporary job.
  • Can contribute beyond the crisis period. Interims frequently function as mentors and can help the organization learn from the pandemic experience to build preparedness for future situations.

A Solution to Consider

The coronavirus challenge is being met with creativity and agility, but remains a daily battle. All available workforce solutions are on the table at times like these. Consider adding interim management to that list as a unique resource that can be deployed quickly with high impact.

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