“There is a school of thought in healthcare recruiting that organizations in flux should delay major hires until the dust settles and stability returns,” write Witt/Kieffer consultants Bonnie Siegel and Paul Bohne in a recent article in Healthcare Informatics. This approach needs rethinking, the two argue with conviction. Of course, there are exceptions and caveats, but on the whole it is unwise for organizations to hit the pause button on recruiting healthcare executives during a merger or other industry upheaval. “Great leaders won’t always wait,” they write, and delayed executive recruiting may mean missed opportunities to bring exceptional leaders into one’s organization.
- Be up-front and transparent with top candidates. Let them know a little about what’s truly going on behind the scenes.
- Gauge disclosure on the level and function of the hire. CEOs, COOs, and other high-profile execs deserve more information about operational and enterprise level changes that are happening.
- Require nondisclosure agreements. A simple tool that provides risk management when information is shared.
- Present your A team. Give executive candidates access to key players who are implementing change.
- Assess candidates thoroughly. Know whether (or not) they thrive in unstable environments.
Top executive candidates need reassurances that, though in flux, a potential new employer is on the right path. Strategic hires also appreciate being privy to some of the behind-the-scenes discussions that are taking place. “Top executives will see opportunity in a reorganized entity,” Siegel and Bohne say, “but only if they are given some transparency into the changes that are happening and access to the people who are making them happen.”
By Paul Thomas, Strategic Communications Leader