Why a good healthcare manager is hard to find

It's rare to find a person who possesses effective management skills. As a result, companies--including healthcare organizations--often hire unsuitable managers, according toHarvard Business Review blog post by Randall Beck and James Harter.

Effective managers, they write, have the ability to:

  • Motivate every employee

  • Create a culture of accountability

  • Build open, transparent relationships

  • Base decisions on productivity over politics

  • Drive outcomes and can overcome adversity and resistance.

The problem, the post states, is that organizations don't look for these traits when they hire or promote people.

"Conventional selection processes are a big contributor to inefficiency in management practices; little science or research is applied to find the right person for the managerial role," Beck and Harter write. "When Gallup asked U.S. managers why they believed they were hired for their current role, they commonly cited their success in a previous non-managerial role or their tenure in their company or field."

Managers' staff engagement skills are also vital, Beck and Harter write, citing Gallup research that shows only 30 percent of employees are engaged at work. These findings mirror a February Gallup report tying healthcare staff engagement to patient outcomes and satisfaction, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

But there may be a shift in healthcare hiring trends as hospitals and health systems look for new senior executives to lead their organizations. A December poll from Black Book Rankings reported in December that healthcare organizations now seek outside hires from the finance industry, as well as other industries like marketing/sales, technology, pharma/biotech and non-profits instead of those who have a healthcare background.

"An outside hire will not have developed hospital management skills from within or understand an organization's unwritten rules at first, but that's not a bad thing either as more hospitals face fresh ideas to avoid bankruptcy, expedite smoother consolidations, conquer payment reform and productivity issues," said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the post
- read the Gallup report
- check out the staff engagement research
- check out the poll announcement