Interim managers are typically highly experienced executives and senior managers, who are hired as they have the specialist expertise and proven track record in resolving specific problems, challenges or transformations. The number of interim managers in the global labour market is continually growing and is predicted to do so at a much faster rate throughout 2019.
Why is this?
From an employee perspective, the number of managers electing to pursue interim work over full-time employment continues to increase. The reasoning behind this conscious decision can often involve the freedom of choice and flexibility that interim work provides.
Interim assignments provide managers with access to work on varied projects over fixed terms. Such access would otherwise be inaccessible if in full-time employment. In doing so, interim work can expose managers to fresh challenges, regular acquisition of new skills and the power of control and choice in their career.
With this control, interim managers can also dictate their work-life balance far more effectively, therefore increasing motivation and productivity substantially.
The benefits of interim managers to organisations?
It is critical that organisations experiencing significant change, transformation or crisis, have the leaders in place who possess the experience, knowledge and skillset to navigate through these strategically pivotal periods. It is commonplace that organisations in these periods will not have the necessary leadership internally who possess these traits. As such, their survival, growth and sustainability are potentially at risk. Bridging this knowledge and skills gap is therefore vital for businesses and interim management is a viable option that is often overlooked or resisted as a practical solution.
A fresh set of eyes
Interim managers can add a fresh perspective, analysing business needs with a more balanced and unbiased approach than that of a permanent employee. Permanent managers must consider the bureaucratic ramifications of their decision making and the potential implications this may have on their career prospects within the organisation.
Having worked on an interim basis on various types of assignments in multiple different organisational structures and cultures, the interim manager often possesses a greater cultural understanding and extensive expertise than that of a permanent manager.
They can help bring about fresh ideas and strategies during their latest assignment. Knowledge sharing during the assignment period between the interim manager to the permanent employees will include their specialist expertise and cultural sensitivity. This critically valuable knowledge therefore, remains in the organisation in the long-term, even after the interim manager’s term is over.
Speed is key
The speed of the hiring process for an interim manager is far quicker than that of a permanent placement, with the process taking days instead of weeks or months. Interims can be parachuted in quickly and go about working on projects and solutions quickly.
The vast experience and expertise these interim managers possess, allows them to begin positively impacting the organisation almost immediately. This is especially important when the assignment is related to crisis management, where time sensitivity and urgency can be key to business survival.
In contrast, an internal appointment (promotion) or external permanent hire who has limited exposure to other organisational cultures, visions and structures can mean upskilling is necessary prior to bringing about positive change and adding value to the organisation.
Is it more costly?
Whilst day rates of up to £2,000 can appear to be a high premium for the benefit of hiring an interim manager, the reality is that the hidden costs associated with hiring a permanent, full-time employee can often take the cost over that of an interim manager at the same level of seniority.
Pensions, bonuses and all other added contributions organisations must make, increases the cost to around double that of base salary. Interims can also be paid out based on their performance at the end of an assignment with bonuses or with milestone payment models, potentially reducing cost risks for the organisation.
As we continue in 2019 the percentage of interim managers as part of the total global workforce looks set to continue to increase. Organisations experiencing significant change or crisis should look to interim management as a genuine and viable option in guaranteeing survival and success of the organisation. Despite an interim appointment only having a temporary and short term direct involvement in the organisation, the potentially positive ramifications and long term results are clear and should be considered when implementing hiring strategies.
About the Author
Miguel Vila Bea is an International Search Consultant in the Mining & Metals division of Chad Harrison International. He is highly experienced in delivering specific and hard to find profiles for multinational clients globally.
Recent successful campaigns include Project Managers in Asia Pacific, Mining Manager Canada and Vice President of Operations North America.