Role of Board Members in a Healthcare Executive Search

Role of Board Members in a Healthcare Executive Search

Leadership transitions are often not anticipated, but they are inevitable. As a Board member, the pressure that comes with an unplanned transition can be especially challenging. It is the duty of the Board and the search committee to find the best candidate to fill the critical leadership role – usually with an underlying sense of urgency. Before you start losing sleep over filling an executive role, there are some steps you can take to make the process easier. Below we delve into the vital role Board members play in the executive search process. 

Board Members Role in an Executive Search

1. Select a search committee Chair.

Selecting the right search committee Chair is an important first step in the executive search process. The Chair will serve as the liaison between search committee members, HR, the Board of Directors and the executive search firm. An effective search committee Chair adds value by becoming the main point-of-contact to all committees involved, scheduling all committee meetings, etc. in addition to contributing significantly to improved hiring decisions that integrate with a strategic plan.

2. Recruit and appoint a strong search committee.

Appoint Board members who are the most active and knowledgeable on the work being done by the organization. Consider including a former Board member or other key stakeholders to round out the search committee and add a historic perspective. Just as the Board should be a reflection of the community in which the organization serves, so should the search committee. A search committee offers the benefit of multiple perspectives in the selection process and can offer further opportunities through a variety of personal networks.

3. Partner with a specialized executive search firm.

The stakes in recruiting an executive leader are high and the consequences of making a sub-optimal hire can be quite significant. Coupled with that is the fact that healthcare is like no other industry.  It is fraught with reimbursement, regulatory and workforce issues that are unique to the industry.  

Investing in the expertise of an executive search firm that specializes exclusively in the healthcare industry and has a proven track record of success in healthcare can get the very best talent to move your organization’s agenda forward while saving significant time and money. The market insights, familiarity with the inner workings of organizations like yours  and the national perspective that a healthcare-focused firm brings to bear will pay significant dividends in both the long and short term.  

When interviewing executive search firms, ensure the firm offers a minimum 1-year guarantee on candidates placed. If the selected individual leaves or is terminated, the firm will conduct a replacement search at no charge to you.

4. Develop an ideal candidate profile that aligns with the strategic plan.

Board members should share the characteristics and skills they feel are necessary for the next executive leader. This can include:

  • Leadership that reflects the community in which the healthcare organization serves
  • Strong physician references (jobs are won or lost based on the quality of the physician references)
  • Recommendations on how to move the organizational agenda forward
  • Leadership experience in a specific area
  • High value on transparency with the Board
  • Integrity – Honest, trustworthy
  • Adept communication skills

5. Support the new leader.

The executive search process does not end when the candidate is chosen and the offer is accepted. Commit to giving 90-day feedback to the newly appointed executive. Board members should designate a Board member to regularly engage and support the new leader. The success of the organization is closely tied to everyone’s cooperation with the new hire.

Assigning a specific Board member to assist the new leader, especially early on, is an ideal mechanism to relay feedback, suggestions and input to the new executive. This gives some flexibility to provide course correction if needed. As an executive driving the organization, it is essential that the Board nurtures this relationship in order to move the strategic mission forward. In addition to 1:1 face time with a Board member, the organization should have a formal onboarding program to be as efficient as possible during this transition. 

Pro Tip: If assigning a Board member to assist the new leader isn’t feasible, onboarding executive services are sometimes offered by an executive search partner. This option provides the biggest potential for success by having a seasoned executive from the outside parachute in to coach alongside the new leader.

Tyler & Company: How We Partner

For over 40 years, Tyler & Company has focused exclusively on matching best-fit healthcare leadership talent with top tier healthcare organizations.  With an emphasis on building long-term relationships with our clients, we are known for our partnership approach that elevates client needs and prioritizes organizational mission and goals. We sit down with the search committee and the Board of Directors to understand their strategic direction, develop consensus and verify alignment of multidisciplinary stakeholders.  

Whether the Board aims to turnaround the organization or needs significant growth, our executive search team will find the best-fit candidate you want, need and deserve. 

If you are interested in retaining Tyler & Company as your trusted partner in finding your next healthcare executive, please contact us.