Have you given thought to engaging an interim manager while simultaneously taking on the recruitment process? Do you have issues that perhaps need to be resolved before onboarding a permanent employee manager? Are you sure you know the duties for this newly created position before the “new hire” starts working at your company? Do the decision makers really agree to the roles and responsibilities of the person who is about to be hired? If there is any ambiguity or uncertainty in your hiring decision process for managers, you may want to consider engaging an interim manager first. For the recruiters in the audience, are you confident that placing a candidate into one of these types of scenarios will not backfire on you and thereby trigger your contractual guarantee?
An interim manager is someone whom you can employ in your business for a short period of time to solve a specific business problem. Interim managers can offer instant experience and capability since they often know what best practice looks like and may even have had a recent assignment at a similar business. They are committed to their role as a short-term staff member and their varied experience in critical situations gives them a strategic advantage when handling new problems. An interim manager is hired as an independent person on the basis of his or her personal abilities and reputation. They handle challenging leadership situations with a combination of sensitivity and seriousness so they can integrate themselves into organizations and quickly engage a workforce.
Unencumbered by company politics or culture, interim managers provide a fresh perspective and are able to concentrate on what is best for the business, highlighting areas that require attention. Being independent operators, they are able to contribute honestly without constituting a threat to the existing management team. Interim managers are provided the authority and credibility to effect significant change within a company. Unlike a “temp”, they are not just there to hold down the fort. They actively add value to the client’s business as a result of their expertise and approach, even when the work and the decisions to be made are difficult.
By definition an interim manager should be hired on a temporary basis and are known for their impartiality. Successful interim managers can roll with the punches and are not being fazed by uncertainty and ambiguity. Remember that interims speak very openly to clients! They can be objective and won’t be side-tracked into office politics.
Interim managers are adept at appropriately pointing out the elephants in the rooms. Not tied to employment, they are well placed to address uncomfortable truths, difficult discussions, and unpopular activities. Interim managers can professionally and candidly share with clients things that they need to know, regardless of political expediency. What the client does with the information is up to them, but the insight can be priceless. Consequently, interim managers need the authority and control to make a difference, or they will have one hand tied behind their back, reducing their value to your business.
Interim management assignments often address needs in the change management space. The individual oversees the company’s current operations, develops strategies for improvement and then implements the strategies. However, businesses who attempt to interview the interim manager as if they were a permanent employee run the risk of having a cross-purpose conversation that fails to unlock the added value of the interim manager. Assignment discussions should not be thought of as a permanent interview. Interim managers are not a candidate for a permanent employee role. Rather, an initial assignment meeting should be used to qualify the individual for a finite project or situation.
Another benefit is that interim managers are often available immediately, whereas it could take a minimum of four months to hire a permanent employee serving a notice period. Note that once a contract is signed, an interim typically needs five working days to fully understand the role and requirements but they can hit the ground running. Interims should have a clear scope of work and terms of reference for their assignment. You should agree to the aims and timescales of the assignment at the outset, so that both parties understand their key objectives. Review these objectives and progress often. Furthermore, communicate to employees that you have hired an interim and that the success of any assignment depends on support from the business. Ensure employees also know that they can learn from the interim.
Finally, don’t compare the pay levels of permanent employees with interims; it is misleading. Remember, an interim charges an inclusive rate and does not enjoy benefits such as pensions or holidays. The interim manager will negotiate a daily rate with the client since they are usually only paid for the actual days worked.
An interim management solution can be very effective in resolving business problems, whether the need is for a change in direction, climbing out of a hole, invigorating a business or dealing with an unexpected situation. Interim managers provide businesses with a seasoned, flexible capability and resource to achieve a wide range of outcomes. They give added value in their ability to transfer skills and competences into organizations and to drive outcomes in the most challenging circumstances. Their commitment to a comprehensive exit plan is a unique, transparent offering of great benefit to clients.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.