By Olivia O’Neill, Director at the Godfrey Group
Interim management is on the rise globally and the use of interim managers in Australian institutions and boutique businesses is climbing fast. It’s a growing trend that can deliver a number of benefits to businesses and individuals alike, including greater flexibility, speed and value for money.
While it’s not a new area of recruitment, it is an area that is rapidly growing with more and more businesses requesting interim managers to fill immediate and urgent skills gaps in their organisations – and not just because an executive employee has gone on long-term leave.
Interim management as an asset to your business
First and foremost, interim management offers a quick and sensible solution for a specified period of time to achieve certain strategic objectives. This means that many of the traditional things that recruiters look for in a permanent recruitment process are no longer as important – there’s no need to provide longer-term career growth or worry whether there will be enough work for the individual once the project is complete. And the placement timeframe is fast – you don’t need to drag out a long search process with the associated testing, checking and assessment.
Useful for most projects, IT implementations, mergers and acquisition undertakings, busy times and periods of increased growth, times when there is no budget, hiring freezes, maternity/paternity leave cover, strategic initiatives and marketing projects, using a highly-qualified interim resource to plug a temporary gap in your business ensures you can steamroll through a specific task that has been sitting for a while on your ‘to-do’ list.
Although interim managers are often overqualified for the role, it is never an issue because the work is short-term (ranging from 6-12 months) and you now have a resource with extensive experience, industry exposure and strategic insight, which you can choose to draw on… or not!
Interim managers can also prove to be valuable in a candidate-short market where supply is an issue because they are quick to find, it’s a straightforward process to start them in the role, and equally as simple to conclude their assignment when the project ends. Meanwhile, your team knows that the individual has been hired to do a particular job so there is no real impact on culture when they leave.
Other key benefits associated with interim managers include:
· A 100% focus on a particular piece of work holding your business back so that you can focus on ‘business as usual’.
· The ability to fill a gap when you don’t have the budget to take on a permanent position – if you don’t have the headcount, they can be useful in terms of meeting business objectives and can provide extra senior capacity to your team.
· Providing a temporary solution to a new role that hasn’t yet been fully-scoped – especially if you aren’t sure whether the role warrants a full-time permanent resource.
· Extreme flexibility – if a role doesn’t fit their ideal requirements or expectations, they are generally “okay” with that because the role is for a limited time.
· Little or no guidance once they start – interim managers are familiar with starting a new role, quickly seeing the bigger picture, rolling their sleeves up and getting on with the job at hand.
· A focus on outcomes and productivity – interim managers realise that this is a small industry and that their next role is based on the success of their previous assignments.
· Essential experience, counsel and guidance in other areas – they provide clarity to a business or a business unit.
The benefits of becoming an interim manager
While interim managers are undeniably good value for money to an organisation wanting a solution that they might be unable to access on a permanent basis, they are also an attractive proposition for senior and experienced individuals.
The role can provide more choice to an individual in terms of how they manage their lifestyle when compared to more traditional permanent roles. For example, an interim manager can work on a six-month assignment and then focus on other interests once the assignment ends.
What’s more, the role offers endless variety, with interim managers often moving from one challenging project to another. This can be both exciting and interesting for the individual, and provides an opportunity to gain different experiences over a short period of time. For example, interim roles are being placed for Senior Project Managers, Implementation Specialists, Technology Strategists, Senior HR Managers, Operations Managers, General Managers and Business Analysts.
As the world continues to change and our expectations of work change with it, then interim management can give a professional a unique way of working that better suits their wants and needs. It also allows experienced people a chance to immediately add value and give back to a particular business – the impact they make on an organisation over a shorter period of time can be significant.
It’s important to realise that interim management for a senior and experienced individual should be seen as a profession and not just a short-term gap-filling exercise. For an organisation, interim management simply makes sense – it will give you increased flexibility, an immediate expert resource, and offers incredible value for money.