Healthcare Executive Hiring Challenges

The healthcare industry is facing risk, uncertainty, and increased complexity, according to PwC Health Research Institute’s new report, “Top health industry issues of 2018: A year for resilience amid uncertainty.” From artificial intelligence and IoT to healthcare reform and patient experience PwC identifies a dozen trends that will require the attention of the C-suite. You can understand why healthcare executive hiring challenges persist.

Peter Drucker once stated, “Healthcare is the most difficult, chaotic, and complex industry to manage today.” That was nearly 20 years ago. To his point, the healthcare industry does seem to be in a constant state of change. The pace of technological innovations creates new systems that leaves laggards further and further behind. Political wrangling at the federal and state level creates more work and tougher regulations, patient care expectations are changing, and organizational challenges are more complex.

On top of these challenges, healthcare ecosystems have evolved to include hospitals, physician groups, home health agencies, and insurance companies…each with their own operating process. Maintaining success with this myriad of complexities explains why healthcare CEO’s last just three years on average, experiencing one of the highest turnover rates of any industry.

In 2015, Harvard Business Review (HBR) featured an article titled, The Biggest U.S. Health Care Challenges Are Management Challenges. In it they mention the biggest obstacles to change are internal, with nearly ⅔ stating that cultural resistance as a roadblock. We have written about the importance of culture in the C-suite hiring. In healthcare the importance of finding the right fit is even more critical to success.

Identifying and hiring top C-suite candidates is difficult for three reasons. The first is articulating what you have to offer them. If you haven’t carefully considered how to present your healthcare organization to prospective candidates, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you have trouble securing top talent. You need a clean crisp narrative on the organizational structure, vision, unique differentiators, opportunities, and challenges that the role offers. Demonstrating knowledge of your situation and transparency in communication will increase your chances of landing the best candidate.

The second reason is identifying candidates with the right mix of skills and experience. Finding someone that can navigate the political landscape, take calculated risks on technology, implement internal changes, and manage the different ecosystem players is difficult. Candidates that meet this criteria are in high demand.

Assuming you have your narrative down and have identified a candidate that meets the criteria for the job, the final reason is the aforementioned culture fit. Culture is the most important aspect of a C-suite role. Hiring the wrong person can have long lasting impact to the organization. While not always given the attention it deserves, imagine hiring a new C-level executive. They will be expected to establish credibility and initiate strong working relationships with not just their other C-suite counterparts, but the entire executive ecosystem. Not an easy task to accomplish in the first three to six months on the job.

Sheer Velocity has experience in finding, screening, placing, and onboarding healthcare executives. Our approach considers the current landscape including technology, politics, and patient expectations. To discuss your executive hiring needs, send us a note.