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In industries across the board, a confluence of trends and shifts are producing demand for a new kind of temporary worker. No longer the sole domain of administrative assistants, high-powered provisional staff are taking charge at senior levels of business. The market for interim executives has grown to $4 billion in Europe, as business dynamics and personal proclivities have spurred the need for flexible solutions.
While Europe seems to have latched onto the value of interim management first, North America is quickly following suit. The same demographic directions are putting pressure on industries to seek alternative solutions here. Add to this continued corporate downsizing, and one can see a recipe for a win-win, providing boomers who are in between full-time employment and full-time retirement an innovative way to fill the void through targeted interim opportunities that deliver a strong business punch.

The healthcare industry is equally receptive to interim professionals. Here are five reasons hospitals and other healthcare businesses are turning to interim leaders:

  1. Changing demographics will create a shortage of executive talent in the next five years.A Deloitte report states that by 2015, three-quarters of managers in the US expected a talent shortage. With the large baby boomer population beginning to retire, and a much smaller group of Millennials taking their place, RHR International predicts America’s top 500 companies will lose half their senior managers during this time period.
  2. The lean staffing trend will only increase the demand for flexible resources. As healthcare leaders seek to “right-size” their workforces, flexible but high-caliber talent will fill the bill for important transitional periods. Whether on the administrative or medical side of the house, interims bring excellent experience mentoring and developing current staff so that hospitals can promote from within. They are also open to working across departments to consult on issues.
  3. The current business environment is the most challenging since the depression and will require more exact, seasoned leadership. Especially in this transformational era, experience counts. Interim leaders are not management consultants. Rather than simply advising, they come to the company for a limited period with a clear mandate to control and direct resources, solve immediate problems, or fill-in for an executive on extended leave. A company may also hire an interim leader as a veteran who can guide the enterprise through an expansion acquisition, or merger.
  4. Increased corporate governance will drive more executive accountability. Time is a luxury that today’s executives no longer have. They will need to become more precise in their hiring. Interim managers are experienced professionals who understand complex problems, so the learning curve is much shorter. Many are turnaround specialists, having already managed through significant organizational change.  But they work to quickly absorb the cultural nuances of the organization so that they can begin to make appropriate changes quickly.Because they’ve already managed through critical regulatory evaluations, interim managers can institute readiness teams and procedures and liaise with the inspectors from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, CMS and other regulatory bodies.
  5. Interim managers have a level of focus that allows them to efficiently complete the specific project for which they were hired. These experienced executives come to the task with an understanding of standard operating procedures. Since they are not long-term hires, they need not commit time and energy to organizational politics. They have primary accountability for the project’s timelines and budgets, yet when the project is complete, they are gone, and without the cost of severance or the need to retool skill sets.