According to the Interim Management Association (IMA), the use of interim managers has grown by 93% since the pre-recession levels of 2006, with 16,000 senior interims currently working in the UK.
During these uncertain times leading into a recession, with organisations still needing to push transformation whilst handling tight budgets, interim management is a viable option for you to ensure strategies are still delivered at pace, without long term budget concerns.
But why consider an interim manager, what benefits do they bring, and how do you find the person that best fits what your organisation needs?
Who are interim managers?
Interim managers are top-level executives who are experts in their field, with distinct track records, portfolios and skillsets, that allow them to solve specific organisational problem in a very short period, or onboard quickly to help support on a longer-term basis.
You may have suddenly lost a senior leader, currently going through a period of transformational change, or have a project that requires additional or specific skills your current workforce doesn’t have – in all these scenarios, an interim manager would be able to provide their experience at short notice to ensure your organisation has positive continuity or change.
When should you consider an interim manager?
You have a gap at senior leadership and need to fill the role quickly to ensure stability and business as usual, but don’t have the time to wait for a full recruitment process to be completed; an interim can cover leadership gaps, whilst you find the right permanent member of staff.
Similarly, you might have made an internal promotion to fill a leadership position, but need to backfill their role quickly to ensure the position is covered for business continuity whilst you look to recruit someone on a permanent basis.
You are going through a transformational organisational period, starting a new project that needs specific skillsets, or you have a particularly challenging project that you need support to quickly steer on track and rectify any issues for successful timely completion.
You are going through an acquisition, mergers, or partnership, and therefore need some temporary support on change management.
You are dealing with a complex regulatory or legal issue and need support to navigate the complexities and manage risks of the situation.
What are the benefits of an interim manager?
There are some myths around interim managers, when the actual benefits of using an interim manager are actually as many and varied as the business problems they address; here we summarise just some of the benefits of engaging with an interim manager:
Quick results; interims are known for their ability to make significant improvements in a very short time. They have strong track records and expertise of delivering results in similar roles, which means they can turn adverse or challenging situations around very quickly. They are used to landing on their feet running, quickly assessing the situation and making quick recommendations and swiftly executing them. They are trained to quickly assess what needs to be done, when, by whom and how to motivate and engage to get results.
Immediate availability; not only can interims produce results quickly, they are also immediately operational in a matter of days or weeks, rather than months, as they generally don’t have a notice period to serve. If your organisation is going through a challenging transitional stage, or have critical skills gaps, speed is of the essence; interims can add value quickly and help maintain stability and business continuity.
Cost effective; one of the main myths of interim managers is that they are expensive due to what is perceived as expensive day rates, however you have to consider the longer term benefits. Interim managers don’t expect bonus payments, you don’t need to consider national insurance contributions, holidays, pensions, health and other benefits a full time employee would receive. Interim managers only get paid for the days, or even hours, that they work, and for the time period that you need them to operate for, therefore you can often calculate the cost of their employment period up front. On top of this, with their vast experience they are often over qualified for each assignment they take, providing your organisation with talent they couldn’t afford on a permanent basis
Independent fresh perspectives; due to the nature of their work and expectations to show results quickly, interim managers are not afraid to be candid, and will tell the senior team what they need to hear in order to successfully complete their placement. As they technically stand outside of the organisation, and aren’t planning on having a long term career within the organisation, they aren’t caught up with organisational politics or influenced by specific members of staff, so work more freely, not afraid to be controversial, and bring a neutral position to decision making. Moreover, they will have worked on multiple similar projects, therefore can bring an abundance of perspectives and will ensure an objective view for your specific situation, making the right decision no matter how unpopular or difficult that might be.
Focused expertise; there is a vast pool of interim managers, with arrays of knowledge and experience, from wide to niche, so you can engage with an interim who has the unique skills and proven track record for your situation. Unlike hiring a permanent member of staff, you don’t need to think about what other skills they might need for other projects down the line, they can just have the skillset needed for the specific project at hand.
Flexibility; periods of transformation mean organisations often need a leader to plug specific gaps and boost leadership resources over the transitional period; interim managers provide senior leadership and expertise without requiring long term commitment, saving your organisation money and allowing for business continuity.
Accountability; as interim managers rely on positive outcomes and referrals for future roles, they take responsibility for delivering agree results very seriously. As they are independent workers, they can strongly advise you on the best way forward, committing to implementing agreed actions based on their experience, and taking full accountability for the results.
Why engage with an interim manager over a consultant?
An interim manager is contracted solely to you to deliver the specific objectives over the agreed period of time, they are integrated within the business, which means they are completely committed to you, often resulting in a project being deliver sooner and more effectively.
Interim managers are incentivised by the successful completion of work and your recommendation, as their future work relies heavily on referrals and successful track record, which means you can rely on them providing unbiased opinions and decisions, looking out for your best interest.
How do you source an interim manager?
The Institute of Interim Management (IIM) estimate that more than 80% of organisations use an interim management provider to source candidates. Interim management providers, like Cadence Partners, have a network of available candidates with proven track record and experience waiting to be placed, which allows organisations to secure talent quickly, efficiently and in a cost effective way.
Unlike other providers, Cadence Partners only work with a trusted talent pool, who we are confident can both achieve the results you require, and be attuned to your organisation's values and culture.
We are always open to a confidential conversation to discuss your organisation and leadership challenges that might benefit from interim management support. We can source and provide candidates for whatever project or challenge you need to address. Please contact Deborah Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.