When an agency loses a key employee like the Administrator or the CEO, it is prudent to bring in an interim manager to steer the home care organization while the search for a new replacement can be accomplished. This presents an exciting opportunity for your home care agency to take the occasion to discover new things about your home care agency and use the expertise and time to improve your home care agency.
As defined in Wikipedia, “interim management is the temporary provision of management resources and skills. Interim management can be seen as the short-term assignment of a proven heavyweight interim executive manager to manage a period of transition, crisis or change within an organization. In this situation, a permanent role may be unnecessary or impossible to find on short notice. Additionally, there may be nobody internally who is suitable for, or available to take up, the position in question.”
Unfortunately, we find that home care agencies see this interim management position as a place holder only and, as a result, do not get the full benefit of the interim management contract. Failure to fully use the expertise and time of the interim manager to re-envision, reform and make needed changes in the home care agency is a real lost opportunity.
“There are several factors that make the interim management offering increasingly popular and cost-effective to client organizations. These factors are characterized as a ‘value proposition’ that interim managers offer to their clients.”
“Although there is some variation at the elements of each interim management assignment, the following factors are typical of the interim management value proposition:
- Return on investment. Interim managers add value by using their skills and expertise to help deliver an outcome, solution, service or mitigate risk that provides a meaningful ‘return on investment’ to a client. Interim managers are paid on the understanding of goals and objectives being performed and delivered, and not simply on the basis of attendance.
- Speed. Interim managers can be in place within days as opposed to weeks or months which is essential when time constraints are paramount. Being practiced in engaging promptly with the situation, they become effective quickly upon joining a client organization. Because of their experience and expertise, interim managers also conduct and complete assignments effectively and with due speed.
- Expertise. Interim managers typically operate at a senior level in the client organization, often being sensibly over-qualified for the roles they take on. They often bring skills and knowledge not otherwise in place, to address a specific skills gap or problem. Their experience and expertise enables them to be productive and make a noticeable impact from the outset, maximizing the likelihood of success.
- Objectivity. Unencumbered by company politics or culture, interim managers provide a fresh perspective and are able to concentrate on what’s best for the business. Being independent operators, they are able to contribute honestly without constituting a threat to the incumbent management team. Not being part of a larger business they are not pressured to unnecessarily extend their assignment.
- Accountability. Rather than taking on a purely advisory role, interim managers are managers who will take responsibility for and manage a business or project in their own right. They expect to be held accountable for results and by being instrumental in an assignment’s successful delivery. They give clients the peace of mind that the interim manager has stewardship of the project in hand.
- Effectiveness. Operating at or near board-level gives interim managers the authority and credibility to effect significant change or transition within a company. Unlike a ‘temp’, they’re not just there to ‘hold the fort’. They actively add value to the client organization as a result of their expertise and approach, even when the work and the decisions to be made are difficult.
- Commitment. Interim managers maintain high professional standards because their future work relies upon referrals and a successful track record. They therefore have a stake in the success of the assignments that they undertake.” Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia
Every productive home care interim management contract starts with a full organizational assessment. This ensures that the interim manager’s time is focused on those issues that place the home care agency most at risk. Once the issues are identified, expect the interim manager to outline a plan of action to address the identified issues with roles and responsibilities, and the goals to be achieved. The findings of the organizational assessment, along with the interim manager’s plan, are presented to the owners or corporate staff responsible for the home care agency for approval and to determine if there are other objects or issues that need to also be addressed.
It is recommended that the plan also be introduced to all home care staff, internal and field staff, so that all staff feel they are included and on board with the upcoming changes. Additionally, the staff most affected should have a separate meeting so their concerns can be addressed. Often we find that home care agencies are over-staffed in certain sections and cuts have to be made. It is the responsibility of the interim manager to address staff reduction concerns and set a plan for those eliminated from the home care organization. We would expect that this very difficult duty is handled with the utmost of respect and compassion for the eliminated individuals.
If it becomes essential that your organization finds the need to use an interim manager for a critical vacant position, please call Ginny Kenyon at 206-721-5091 or e-mail us at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. We’re here to help.